Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan

Fact Box

Jordan hosts an estimated 1.266 million Syrians, along with 67 084 Iraqi refugees, 12 967 Yemeni refugees, 5 037 Sudanese refugees, and 2 206 736 Palestine refugees. The high increase of population in Jordan due to the Syrian conflict has had a major impact on Jordan’s ecosystem, water resources, air quality and waste management systems. An estimated of 19% of solid waste cannot be landfilled due to the lack of capacity and demand for water resources. In addition, the average volume of medical waste generated has increased by 184% in comparison to pre-conflict volumes. The influx of refugees has accelerated the pace of water use. Prior to the influx, the water supply security was already difficult to achieve. Now it has become much more difficult to provide an adequate amount of safe water to people, and the country is on the verge of running out of groundwater as the major resource for domestic supply.

Government type: parliamentary constitutional monarchy

Capital: Amman

Population: 10 458 413 (July 2018 estimate)

Population growth rate: 2.02% (2018 estimate)

Land area: 8 342 sq. km  

GDP (real growth rate): 2% (2017)

Population below poverty line: 14.4% (2014)

Ethnic groups: Jordanian 69.3%, Syrian 13.3%, Palestinian 6.7%, Egyptian 6.7%, Iraqi 1.4%, other 2.6% (includes Armenian, Circassian) (2015 estimate)

note: the data represents the population by self-identified nationality

Religion: Muslim 97.2% (official: predominantly Sunni), Christian 2.2% (majority Greek Orthodox, but some Greek and Roman Catholics, Syrian Orthodox, Coptic Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox, and Protestant denominations), Buddhist 0.4%, Hindu 0.1%, Jewish <0.1, folk <0.1, unaffiliated <0.1, other <0.1 (2010 estimate)

Population distribution: population heavily concentrated in the west, and particularly the northwest, in and around the capital of Amman; a sizeable, but smaller population is located in the southwest along the shore of the Gulf of Aqaba

Urban population: 91% of total population (2018)

Refugees: refugees (country of origin): 2 206 736 (Palestinian refugees), 67 084 (Iraq), 12 967 (Yemen), 5 307 Sudan (2018), 660 393 (Syria) (2019)

Sources:

CIA: The World Factbook https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/jo.html) UNHCR https://data2.unhcr.org/en/situations/syria/location/36,  JORDAN HUMAN  DEVELOPMENT REPORT 2015 http://www.jo.undp.org/content/jordan/en/home/library/Human_Development/NHDR/2015.html)

Biggest Challenges of Jordan

Jordan hosts an estimated 1.266 million Syrians, constituting 46% of non-Jordanians living in the Kingdom and 13.2% of the overall population. In 2016, some 656 000 Syrian refugees were registered as refugees with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, of which 78.4% live in non-camp settings in rural and urban areas, and around 141 000 refugees live in camp settings. In 2016, the highest concentrations were in the northern and central Governorates. An estimated 435 578 Syrian refugees live in Amman, 343 479 in Irbid, 207 903 in Mafraq, 175 280 in Zarqa and the rest were distributed across the country’s other governorates.

The high number of refugees coming into Jordan has had a major impact on the government’s expenditures on subsidies, public services and security. The increased population has affected Jordan’s ecosystem, air quality and waste management. Jordan has experienced an increased trend in environmental related violations to compensate for higher fuel prices and overgrazing of livestock due to the high cost of fodder.

Jordan was already facing a water crisis before the Syrian Civil War when the annual per capita water supply was around 140 cubic meters, and now it is less than 100 cubic meters. This is only 10% of the UN definition of water poverty, which is anything below 1000 cubic meters per person per year. The influx of refugees has accelerated the pace of water use. Prior to the influx, water supply security was already difficult to achieve. Now it has become much more difficult to provide an adequate amount of safe water to people.

Over the past few years, Jordan has achieved high levels of water and sanitation services where 95% of the population has access to safe drinking water on an intermittent basis, and about 63% are connected to the public sewer system which collects, transfers and treats the wastewater loads. The current level of service delivered to the population is about 126 liters/capita/day. The demand ranges between 80 and 120 liters/capita/day depending on the area (rural/urban). Jordan is also on the verge of running out of groundwater as the major resource for domestic supply. Approximately 63% of Jordan’s water sources come from aquifers.

The major increase in population is driving a sharp increase in air-polluting emissions. The large number of refugees especially in northern governorates is increasing the volume of emissions. Waste is also a serious issue in the area. For example, the Swaqa landfill has been serving as a dumping site for a wide variety of hazardous waste, including medical and pharmaceutical waste. Currently, the site needs a clean-up and rehabilitation due to waste accumulation over the past few years.

An estimated 19% of solid waste cannot be landfilled due to lack of landfill capacity and demand for water resources has increased by as much as 40% in areas heavily populated by Syrians. In some northern governorates, per-capita share of water plummeted by 27%.  Issues surrounding the lack of medical waste management have further worsened with the growth in population. The average volume of medical waste generated before crisis was 253 506 tons per year, whereas the average since the crisis has risen to 466 789 tons per year – a 184% increase in medical waste. There is only one assigned dumping site for hazardous waste which needs considerable rehabilitation.

According to the Jordan Response Plan for the Syrian Crisis 2017 – 2019, the lack of funding made available by the international community has resulted in the lack of implemented interventions to mitigate the environmental impact of the Syria crisis.

Due to the lack of monitoring frameworks, the Jordanian government has had difficulty monitoring air quality and waste flow. Moreover, the Ministry of Environment does not have a database system for maintaining records of all air parameters and the types and amounts of waste.

Sources:

The Jordan Response Plan for the Syrian Crisis 2017 – 2019

https://data2.unhcr.org/en/situations/syria/location/36