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Why Dubai built 'cigarette sandcastle' at Mamzar

The ‘Cigarette Sandcastle’, an installation covered in cigarette butts, on Mamzar Beach Park, Dubai. (Supplied)

By Staff

Dubai is a city of unique buildings and structures – the emirate in fact is a living monument of creativity and ingenuity. Stretching the thought a little further is Dubai Municipality’s latest installation: a unique ‘Cigarette Sandcastle’ – an installation covered in cigarette butts – as part of a campaign that seeks to safeguard children from the dangers of cigarette littering the emirate’s beaches.

Every year, millions of cigarette butts are carelessly discarded on Dubai’s public beaches which can be accidently picked up by young children or eventually make their way to the ocean, where they destroy marine life.

The ‘Volunteer in UAE’ group picked up nearly 50,000 butts in just one hour at a beach in Umm Suqueim last year and a further 31,000 were picked up recently at Al Mamzar which demonstrates the scale of the problem.

Dubai’s civic body had now partnered with advertising and events management agency BPG Bates to create the distinctive sandcastle structure, it said in a media statement on Sunday.

Titled ‘Kids Play,’ the activation involves the creation of a 3-metre-high by 3-metre-wide sand castle at Beach 2 in Mamzar Beach Park in Dubai that is covered in used cigarette butts collected from beaches in the park.

The campaign is in line with the municipality’s efforts to discourage smoking and the pollution of public spaces in the emirate, in a bid to achieve Dubai’s vision for sustainability.

“Together with BPG Bates, Dubai Municipality aims to raise awareness on the ill-effects of cigarette littering the beaches here,” said Ismail Abdulrahman Al Banna, Director of Corporate Marketing and Relations Department at Dubai Municipality.

“The volunteers working on this installation collected thousands of cigarette butts from beaches and other public spaces. Our goal is to give people food for thought on how pollution of this scale can affect the future of our children, as well as the environment in the UAE,” he said.

The concept was created by BPG Bates Associate Creative Director Sarah Pollard and executed by international sandcastle building experts Paul and Remy Hoggard with the help of the ‘Volunteer in UAE’ group, and is designed to graphically highlight the problem of smokers littering the beaches.

The campaign is being amplified through social media with an online petition to encourage smokers to use discard their cigarette butts more responsibly.

Nick Clements, CEO of BPG Bates said: “BPG Bates is delighted to be partnering with Dubai Municipality to address what is potentially a very serious issue for kids playing on our beaches with a strong creative idea used to address an important social issue across the emirate.”