EghtesadOnline: Urban authorities, tech enthusiasts and startup owners gathered in Tehran on Monday to discuss smart solutions for overhauling waste management in the Iranian capital.
Households in Tehran generate over 9,000 tons of garbage every day, of which a substantial part is recyclable. However, due to the lack of adequate and advanced recycling facilities, most of the urban waste ends up in landfills and pollutes soil, air and water.
Speaking at the event titled InnoTehran and pointing to startups’ pivotal role in addressing urban issues, Tehran Mayor Pirouz Hanachi said enlisting public participation for addressing problems will enable authorities to come up with more sustainable solutions.
InnoTehran is a portmanteau made by combining innovation and Tehran, according to Financial Tribune.
The mayor urged the gathering to consider the costs of collecting and disposing this huge amount of waste.
“Take into account the environmental impact of the process. We need to come up with smart solutions for curbing the costs,” he added.
According to the mayor, reducing Tehran’s environmental footprint is also high on the municipality’s agenda.
Hanachi pointed to his policy of promoting collaborations between startups and Tehran Municipality, calling on tech firms “to consider waste management a permanent endeavor and not a one day job or a small project”.
“Our top priority should be to curb waste generation and introduce easy and smart ways of waste sorting at homes and workplaces,” he said.
Households, carving out a more environment-friendly life, voluntarily sort their garbage. However, due to poor oversight, the urban waste collection services mix the garbage during the collection process.
Hanachi declared that effective waste sorting calls for active public participation in a citywide scheme.
Each Tehran resident produces 1 kg of solid waste daily while the rate is lower than 500 grams in Iran’s rural areas.
According to the World Bank, the global per capita waste generation rate is 1.2 kg.
Million Dollar Business
Mohammad Mirlohi, a Tehran city councilor, said waste management business in Tehran is estimated to be as big as 50 trillion rials ($357 million).
Pointing to the environmental impact of inefficient waste management in metropolises like Tehran, he said seeking a smart solution in the field is not an option, but a necessity.
“With the help of startups and by introducing smart solutions, we can curb waste generation in Tehran,” he said.
The city councilor also called for the establishment of a committee for coordinating efforts aimed at curbing waste generation.
Mohammad Farjood, the head of TM’s ICT Organization, also attended the event. Farjood said that in the near future, similar events focusing on other urban issues will be hosted by the municipality to boost ties between the urban authority and startups.
According to the official, startups can send their pitches for smart waste management to the organization through its website (Tmicto.tehran.ir).
Ali Vahdat, the head of Iran National Innovation Fund, told the gathering that INIF is set to introduce extensive loan and aid packages for startups active in the fields of urban management.
Vahdat noted that a mechanism can be drawn up, based on which Tehran Municipality can list urban issues that need to be immediately resolved on a website.
Startups and tech firms can come up with solutions for addressing the issue. After the solutions are ratified by urban authorities, INIF will provide the teams with financial support.
Startups, venture capital funds, knowledge-based companies and representatives from the local academia also attended the event.