In the last three years, cleaning in offices, malls and public spaces increased significantly due to COVID-19 pandemic. This resulted in a huge increase in chemical consumption. Most of the cleaning chemicals that are generally used in the GCC contain compounds that compromise the safety and health of buildings occupants and negatively affect the environment. This led to the rise of the demand for green cleaning programs as facility managers could see its benefit to their employees, customers, and employers.
Benefits of green cleaning
- Enhanced safety
Green cleaning can prevent many health conditions like skin irritation, headache and eye burn that can be resulted from the use of traditional cleaning chemicals.
- Reduces illness
In Qatar, 20% of the population has Asthma and green cleaning help create healthier environment with a better indoor air quality.
- Cost savings
Reduced operating costs and increased water and energy savings through reduced material consumption and packaging waste.
- Purer environment
Sustainable cleaning helps reduce pollution of our waterways and the air, and it minimizes our impact on ozone depletion and global climate change with fewer smog-producing chemicals.
- Brand reputation
Companies with strong sustainable programs are most likely to have a strong brand reputation, customer loyalty and staff morale.
Green cleaning in Qatar
- Qatar National Vision 2030
Qatar Vision 2030 aims at transforming Qatar into an advanced society capable of achieving sustainable development and securing a high standard of living for its people for generations to come. This is translated into stricter sustainability requirements in the governmental cleaning tenders and the increase in the demand for green cleaning products.
Earthna is a non-profit policy research and advocacy center, established by Qatar Foundation which aims to inform and influence national and global sustainability policy.
- FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
Hosting the world cup, in my opinion, was the biggest push to green sustainable cleaning in Qatar as many cleaning companies and facilities management contractors were obliged to implement and follow sustainable cleaning programs to become approved contractors by the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy. In Addition to that, the tournament organizers have partnered with Qatar Green Building Council (QGBC) to promote green practices in the local hotel sector. The objective of the partnership is to reduce the sector’s environmental impact, driving responsible, efficient operations.
Challenges to overcome
In my opinion, the main challenges to green cleaning implementation in Qatar are staff training as employees are trained only on traditional cleaning methods and cost implication as the locally produced green chemicals are limited and come at higher cost especially for small projects where consumption is not high.
What does the future hold?
In line with the country’s 2030 vision, I believe the cleaning industry is gradually moving toward sustainable methods and programs, but it will require regulators to gradually ban harmful chemicals productions and importation to push against the resistance to change from both the cleaning companies and the end users.
About the author
Abdelhak Zaghbani is the Soft Services Manager at The Maintainers. He has previously worked as Head of Support Services at MTM Group, Qatar.