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04 March 2024

50 per cent of camels that die in UAE are due to ingesting plastics

By Sneha May Francis

Did you know plastic bags are used for an average of five minutes, but takes over thousands of years to decompose in landfills?

Did you know plastics don't biodegrade, but are broken into smaller fragments that are toxic and contaminate soil and waterways?

Did you know plastic bags pose as a danger to animals, as they often mistake them for food and die after swallowing it?

In fact, 50 per cent of the camels that die in the UAE are due to ingesting plastics.

Ever stopped to wonder how plastic can harm our environment while packing your weekly groceries into them?

The truth is, we, at least most of us, are oblivious to what happens around us. And prefer to blindly carry on without much thought.

Dubai Municipality is attempting to change that mind-set, by encouraging us to take a stand and say ‘no to plastic’.

And, to help us in this initiative, they have distributed 7,000 cloth bags and distributed 30,000 leaflets to spread awareness.

“We are educating the public about how plastic harms human health as well as the environment and encouraging them to think of alternatives that can be produced locally,” said Salah Amiri, assistant director Of Dubai Municipality.

Dubai Municipality had launched the campaign six months ago to reduce 500 million plastic bags.

It is reported that the emirate uses a whopping 2.9 billion plastic bags every year.

According to Abdul Majeed Saifaie, director of waste management department, a mobile exhibition has been organised to visit various shopping complexes and organisations to spread awareness.

“People were positive while hearing to our officials describing the harmful effects plastic culture carries with. Many were interested to know about the alternatives.”

Union Co-operative Societies and Carrefour Group are two main supermarkets were the exhibition was conducted.

That’s not all. Many supermarkets in the UAE have extended their support by selling non-plastic carry bags for a nominal fee.

“We even offer shopping trolley bags, that can be reused and eliminate the need for plastic,” explained a staffer at Spinneys.

Local volunteers of DM’s mobile mission were happy to record their effort on Twitter.

 “Second day of @DVC_Dubai volunteer campaign ‘Say No To Plastic Bags’. The good thing was that People themselves were interested to know more,” wrote a volunteer.

“Enjoyed day 4th volunteering for Say no to plastic bags campaign Deira city,” added another.

The volunteers not only educated shoppers of the benefit of not using plastic, but also handed them free jute bags.

Lalit Naval, who works as government officer at the International Humanitarian City, has been helping out with the ‘Say No To Plastic’ campaign since June this year.

 He worked at the Union Cooperative society for a month in June and saw a positive impact.

“Many shoppers, who we had distributed the jute bags to, had returned the next weekend with them,” he highlighted.

Currently he is stationed at the Carrefour supermarket in Deira City Centre, and he claimed the response has been good.
“People are eager to make a change. And, this is a great initiative by the Dubai Municipality,” he added.

The Dubai Municipality also encourages recycling by placing garbage bins that demarcates plastic waste from others.

These are just a few steps that the civic body has taken, but the larger responsibility lies with the residents.
So, the next time you pack your groceries into plastic bags and load the trunk of your car, just stop and think.


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