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Reducing Plastic Pollution in Saudi Arabia

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Environmental Studies
Wordcount: 4825 words Published: 23rd Sep 2019

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Table of Contents

Part A: Research proposal

1. Introduction

2. Main aim

2.1. Objectives

3. Literature review

4. Methodology

5. Conclusion

Part B: Personal developing plan (PDP) and continuing professional development (CPD)

1. Continuing Professional Development

2. Personal Development Plan

3. Appraisal of the need for practitioners to join a professional bodies

3.1. Ethical responsibility and codes of conduct

Reference list

Part A: Research proposal

From plastics to green energy

1.      Introduction

This research work will look at one of the most harmful solid waste (SW) for our environment which calls PLASTIC. To study a material causes a negative effect to the environment, a brief history of it would be worthy to start with. Before introducing where plastic come from or made of there is a definition of where the word plastic come from, plastic means pliable and easily shaped and recently called polymer which means “of many parts” (Science History Institute, n.d.). Polymers can be found in nature as cellulose in the cell walls of the plants which are a long chains of molecules (Science History Institute, n.d.). John Wesley Hyatt was the first one to create synthetic plastic made by treating cellulose, derived from cotton fiber in 1869. Hyatt could make different shapes from the synthetic plastic such as tortoiseshell, horn, linen, and ivory (Science History Institute, n.d.).

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The study is not focusing on this kind of polymers or the nature plastic, the study is centralizing on the plastic which has been prepared from petroleum and fossil fuels raw materials. Leo Baekeland was the one who started the innovation of non-natural molecules plastic which called fully synthetic plastic in 1907 (Science History Institute, n.d.). Several researches and studies have been done to improve the quality of plastics to be involved almost in everyday life starting to replace the many of glasses, papers, and woods. According to author Freinkel (2011, p. 4), “In product after product, market after market, plastics challenged traditional materials and won, taking the place of steel in cars, paper and glass in packaging, and wood in furniture’’. Plastics are useful and terrified important to humanity to have a luxury life. The chairs at the university where the students and lecturers are seating on made or partly made from plastic, the computers where scientists use to write their researches, the doctors who do surgeries, the pilot, and the butcher, almost everyone need tools made of plastics to make their jobs easy to perform. On the other hand, when plastic products have not been used and recycled in the right way leads to environment disaster. Most of the plastics products are not biodegradable, so they stay in the environment for decades (Andrady 1994). Even degradable plastics products can survive for a substantial period depends on the environmental features such as the physical factors as the humidity, temperature, and the oxygen demands (Swift & Wiles 2004).

One of the biggest issues that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) faces is the recycling of plastics because the majority of Saudi residents do not have recycling habits. The council of the cities in the Kingdom do not force people to recycle their waste by providing different kind of bins to throw their waste such in many others developed countries do. A large amount of SW that found in the municipal dumps KSA are organic waste and plastics. The main reason to find this massive amount of plastics is because of using disposal material especially during Hajj and Umrah seasons where millions of pilgrims use those ungradable plastics which most of them have not been recycled (Anjum et al. 2016). Organic wastes mostly are mainly from  food waste coming from homes, schools hotels and restaurants (Adhikari et al., 2008); therefore, organic waste is not a big issue compare to plastics wastes for the reason that organic waste can be simply treated by composting through economy friendly methods to valuable products (Zhang et al., 2010).

2.      Main aim

The main aim of this research proposal is to reduce the pollution of plastic products waste in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

2.1.            Objectives

This proposal has been written to track the vision 2030 of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to be one of the green countries which produce less plastics wastes and more sustainable energy through:

  • Establish more modern plastics recycling plants not only in the major cities but also in small cities and towns.
  • Force the councils of each city to provide different bins for recycling.
  • Educate residents of the Kingdom about how harmful are plastic to environment through different resources.
  • Encourage people in Saudi Arabia to reduce, reuse and recycle the plastic products.
  • Promote public to collect plastic waste and exchange it at the recycling plants for money or discount vouchers.
  • Create new laws and divulge them so that applying fines and punishment to the ones who do not follow the recycling laws.
  • Limitation, the main objective which is going to be covered in this research proposal is how to convert green energy from non-recycled plastics.

3.      Literature review

While plastics waste is the second biggest part of the municipal solid waste; in Saudi Arabia it has not been presumed well to be recycled. According to Anjum (2016), only 15 to 20 percent of the plastics waste is recycled through different process and recycling companies, but the majority of this waste is dumped to landfill, its valuable materials have been not used to either recycling or make energy.

In the other hand, Luijsterburg (2015) showed in his research how recycling plastics waste is valuable in his country and how recycling companies convert recycled plastics to items that people use in their everyday life, such as milk jugs, food storage, reused plastic containers that can be used to build playground equipment or backyard decks and fences.  

Recycling in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia is taking place gradually. There are many recycling companies that know how valuable plastics wastes are, so they have already started to buy and collect plastics wastes from individuals and business companies. Recycling Industries is the name of a recycling company located in the capital city of the Kingdom Riyadh, its aim is reduced the pollution of plastics wastes by buying plastics wastes mainly HDPE and PP from industrial waste and individuals to be recycled (Recycling Industries, 2018). 

While the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia started to evaluate the recycling of solid wastes especially plastics wastes so that is a great step to recover the environment by produce zero wastes by converting all the waste into valuable sources to use for example plastics to oil.

4.      Methodology

The methodology to reduce pollution of plastics wastes to have a green clean environment is by converting all the non-recycled plastic to fuel oil, so that helps to have environment without plastics wastes and green fuel which does not affect the air pollution negatively. According to Anjum (2016) supports a solution to convert plastic wastes to oil by pyrolysis processes that decomposed plastics chemically at more than 480⁰ C and in the absence of oxygen it produces fuel oil similar to characteristics to diesel, charcoals, and small amount of gas (Sharma et al., 2014).

Figure 1. Process to convert plastic into oil by using Pyrolysis method by APC [no date]

Another study has been established in Scotland shows another method to produce oil from plastics wastes calls gasification. By using higher temperatures around 900- 1100⁰C to break the polymer chains totally, and change their chemical formulation to carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, water and, hydrogen. To convert these molecules into short chains suitable to be used as oil products, more chemical reaction is needed to sticking the atoms of the carbon back together. This process produce more oil than the before one (pyrolysis processes) but on the other hand, the oil which produced by using this method is not clean as the one produced from the pyrolysis processes (Haig, et al. 2010).

5.      Conclusion

The vision 2030 of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is to care more about the environment by reducing any contamination that can be affected our environment. For that reason, reducing solid waste from landfills will help to decrease contamination in air, water and soil which is one of the most harmful pollution on earth. Dropping plastics wastes by creating green energy is a new technic that developed countries are using nowadays to decrease the negative impacts to the Earth. To achieve the same goals as many of the developed countries reached, KSA have to be in the pathway and involve all residencies to help have green save planet to live in. Establishing new plants to create energy from plastics wastes is required in the KSA to have new source of oil and to contract the environment pollution.

Part B: Personal developing plan (PDP) and continuing professional development (CPD)

In the past few years, Saudi Arabian government has focused on making several changes about environment affairs for the year 2030. It has been a coincidence because this area is the one that I am more interested in. After graduating from an Australia university and living a different life, finding the right area to work was a challenge to me. However, after start working at a school science laboratory, where I had most of my completed research projects, was a great experience to incorporate environment concepts to the students and encourage the coming generations to be the future leaders and make real impact in the society. Chances do not come many times in life, when I got the opportunity to start a new journey in my professional life to improve my knowledge about the field which I am most passion about, I would not leave it to pass. There are many environmental issues in my country which I and my other environmental leaders can help to improve the green life as much as we can.   

1.      Continuing Professional Development

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is the key to help gain knowledge and maintain skills up to date. The following table shows the associated activities that have been performed recently.


Activity Brief


What benefits did I get to my work?

Reference to PDP


On the job training (O.J.T.) in Time management

August 2017

Handle how to manage time while having many responsibilities


O.J.T. in Hazardous waste

March 2018

Learnt how to deal with harmful hazardous waste



O.J.T. in GIS

March 2018

Brief introduction to GIS and how it works


O.J.T. in Biological waste

March 2018

How to use microorganism for municipal waste 



O.J.T. in Water pollution

March 2018

Sources of water and how can we save them from pollution and heavy metals



O.J.T. in Air pollution

March 2018

The sources of air pollution and how to measure the toxic gases



O.J.T. in The General Authority of Meteorology and Environment Protection (GAMEP)

June 2018

Introduction to the practical work and different job in each department



MRes in Environmental Management

October 2018

Preparation to be one of the environmental leaders

Table 1. CDP Development Activities

2.      Personal Development Plan

The main idea of creating the Personal Developing Plan (PDP) is to document a process of personal reflection and to discover where the professional strengths and weaknesses areas are.  The below table represents the desires and lack of knowledge at the present


Areas needing improvement

Association with employer’s goals

What I need to study


Information technology (I.T.) skills updating

Beneficial to comprehend the principles of the new technologies to avoid environment pollution

I.T. related to environmental protection (e.g. GIS)


Environmental laws in the United Nations (UN) and Saudi Arabia

Ability to design laws and campaigns to protect the environment

The updated local and international environmental laws


Recycling technics

Save money, improve the environmental media and reduce pollution

Biological methods to recycle waste


Numerical data analysis

Useful to plan for the future

Probability, Statistics


Generate my environmental research

Reduce the pollution especially plastics products

More researches and lectures


PHD in waste management at university of Bolton

Gain more knowledge and ideas to save environment

Books, journals, workshops, researches and lectures

Table  2. PDP learning needs

The table 3 presents the methods for the desires on the above table to be accomplished in the future

Ref. to table 2

What will I do to achieve this?

What are the likely resources and support that I will need?

How will I evaluate a successful outcome?

What are my deadlines meeting this target?


Attending workshops frequently

Location, time, date and background

By enhance knowledge to myself and co-workers 

December 2021


Self-direct study

Read the environmental laws books and forums etc.

Applying punishments to the ones are against the law

January 2021


Contact local and international recycling companies

Visiting the recycle fields

Discussing to the local the benefits of recycling  

November 2020


Self-direct study

Online courses

Capability to provide accurate projections 

June 2020


Self-direct study

Library and researches

By applying the results in the real life

September 2019


Completing my master of environmental management

University and work support

More chance to improve my work position

September 2023

Table 3. PDP development plan

3.      Appraisal of the need for practitioners to join a professional bodies

Professional body is an association with individual members that practice, follow and/or share same profession or occupation (The Science Council, n.d.). It offers different types of ranking titles such as associate, graduate, and affiliate etc. what it is based on the experience level and qualifications that each member has (Lester, 2009). The main activity of these organizations is the exchange and diffusion of information on how to improve stuff, be it progressing methods and procedures, new develops in technology and/or a healthier benefits of workers. According to the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB, n.d.), the organizations give a great value to both the members and the society; and being a part of those organizations gives an extra credibility to your professional resume. Also, managing and progressing in your career become easier with the help of a professional bodies that exist to support their members and keep them up-to-date with professional skills, news, workshops and so on  (CIOB, n.d.). Below there are listed some of the environmental bodies in both UK and worldwide.

  • Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) – an independent professional body and a registered charity in the United Kingdom that encourages its members for improving water and environmental management as well as associated social and cultural issues, for the benefit of the public. Offering training; top level events, debate, round table meetings, publications etc (CIWEM, n.d.).
  • Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM) – professional membership body representing and supporting ecologists and environmental managers in the UK, Ireland and abroad. Providing continuing professional development (CPD) through the provision of training and conferences, forums, advisors and important network with other partners (CIEEM, n.d.).
  • Institute of Scientific & Technical Communicators (ISTC) – the largest UK body representing information development professionals. The organization offers training, mentoring schemes, different resources, its own journal and a big community to support each other (ISTC, n.d.).
  • Association of Local Government Ecologists (ALGE) – Professional ecologists working in local government in the UK and supports and develops the nature conservation work of local authorities (CIEEM, n.d.).
  • National Association of Environmental Professionals (NAEP) – an interdisciplinary American organization that has its own informative journals, providing courses, seminars, conferences and has an exclusive platform for job seekers in specific environmental areas (NAEP, n.d.).


3.1.                         Ethical responsibility and codes of conduct

Organizations have a code of ethics that is a guide of standard considered to support professionals to lead business practices fairly and with honesty (Investopedia, n.d.). Also, when an individual agreed to join any of the professional bodies this person also agrees to follow and respect all the rules and code of conduct that each organization has (ICAEW, n.d.).

Examples of codes of conduct from professional bodies in environmental field are:

  • “Only undertake work that I have the competence to do to the expected standard and seek appropriate advice, training and assistance if I am involved in topics beyond my competence.” (CIEEM, n.d., p. 2)
  • “Demonstrate a commitment to avoiding discriminatory practices in my professional activities” (CIEEM, 2017, p. 2)
  • “have due regard to the public interest and protection and enhancement of the environment in the discharge of their duties” (CIWEM, 2014, p. 2)

Reference list

  • Andrady, A. (1994) Assessment of Environmental Biodegradation of Synthetic Polymers, Journal of Macromolecular Science, Part C, 34:1, 25-76, DOI: 10.1080/15321799408009632
  • Adhikari, B.K., S. Barrington, J. Martinez and S. King. (2008) Characterization of food waste and bulking agents for composting. [online] Available at: http://www.academia.edu/26382698/Characterization_of_food_waste_and_bulking_agents_for_composting [Accessed 21 Oct. 2018]
  • Anjum, M., R. Miandad, M. Waqas,I. Ahmad, Z.O.A. Alafif, A.S. A buriazaiza, M.A. Barakat and T. Akhtar. (2016) Solid waste management in Saudi Arabia: A review. [PDF]. [online] Available at: http://jaab.uaar.edu.pk/index.php/jaab/article/view/5 [Accessed 27 Oct. 2018].
  • APC. [no date]. [Pyrolysis of Plastic: Mass Balance][digital image]. [Viewed 27 Oct. 2018]. Available from: http://pyrolysisplant.com/plastic-to-oil
  • CIEEM. (no date) About CIEEM · CIEEM. [online] Available at: https://www.cieem.net/about-ieem [Accessed 21 Oct. 2018].
  • CIEEM. (2017). Code of Professional Conduct. [PDF], pp. 1, 2. [online] Available at: https://www.cieem.net/professional-conduct [Accessed 21 Oct. 2018].
  • CIOB. (no date) Professional bodies add huge value to society. [online] Available at: https://www.ciob.org/media-centre/news/professional-bodies-add-huge-value-society [Accessed 21 Oct. 2018].
  • CIWEM. (no date) About | CIWEM. [online] Available at: https://www.ciwem.org/about/ [Accessed 21 Oct. 2018].
  • CIWEM. (2014) Professional Ethics and Code of Conduct. [PDF], pp. 1, 2 Available at: https://www.ciwem.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Professional-Ethics-and-Code-of-Conduct.pdf [Accessed 21 Oct. 2018].
  • Freinkel, S.  (2011) Plastics: A Toxic Love Story. New York: Henry Holt, p.4
  • Haig, S., Morrish, L., Morton, R., Onwuamaegbu, U., Speller, P. and Wilkinson, S. (2010). Plastics to oil products. [online]  Available at: http://pyrolysisplant.com/plastic-to-oil/ [Accessed 21 Oct. 2018]
  • ICAEW. (no date) Developing and implementing organisational codes of conduct. [online] Available at: https://www.icaew.com/technical/ethics/ethics-in-practice/practice/developing-and-implementing-organisational-codes-of-conduct [Accessed 21 Oct. 2018].
  • Investopedia. (no date) Code of Ethics. [online] Available at: https://www.investopedia.com/terms/c/code-of-ethics.asp [Accessed 21 Oct. 2018].
  • ISTC. (no date) Institute of Scientific & Technical Communicators. [online] Available at: http://www.istc.org.uk [Accessed 21 Oct. 2018]
  • Lester, S. 2009. Professional Bodies’ Advanced Designations and Awards. [PDF] Bistrol, pp.7, 8, 18, 20. Available at: http://devmts.org.uk/ada.pdf [Accessed 21 Oct. 2018].
  • NAEP. (no date) Welcome to the National Association of Environmental Professionals. [online] Available at: https://www.naep.org/ [Accessed 21 Oct. 2018]
  • Recycling Industries (2018) Our Services [online] Available at: http://www.recyclingindustries.com.sa/products.php [Accessed 21 Oct. 2018]
  • Science History Institute. (no date) The History and Future of Plastics. [online] Available at: https://www.sciencehistory.org/the-history-and-future-of-plastics [Accessed 21 Oct. 2018].
  • Swift G. and Wiles D. (2004) Degradable polymers and plastics in landfill sites. [online] Available at: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/0471440264.pst457.pub2 [Accessed 21 Oct. 2018].
  • Sharma B.K., B.R.,Moser,  K.E.  Vermillion, K.M. Doll and N. Rajagopalan. (2014) Production, characterization and fuel properties of alternative diesel fuel from pyrolysis of waste plastic grocery bags. Fuel Proc. Technol., 122:79-90.
  • The Science Council. (no date) Our definition of a Professional Body – The Science Council. [online] Available at: https://sciencecouncil.org/about-science/our-definition-of-a-professional-body/ [Accessed 21 Oct. 2018].
  • Zhang, Y. M., G. H. Huang and L. He. (2010) Integrated fuzzy ranking analysis for assessing the quality of composting products. J. Environ. Eng., 136:508–519.


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