Save the planet and join the recycled boat race on Dubai Creek
Collect your waste, gather a team, and start thinking about how you can make all that old junk float – with your team inside it. The third annual Whatever Floats your Boat event takes place on November 26 and is looking to raise more than Dhs100,000 for WWF.
This hugely fun day out spreads the importance of environmental awareness and recycling, creativity and teamwork throughout the UAE. Alongside the race, there will also be boat displays and plenty of live entertainment (on a floating stage, no less), plus a chance to eye up the competition’s boats – each will be displayed alongside facts about the number of bottles, cans and materials used, and the amount of time it took to build. There will be a cage full of bottles with prizes for the person who can guess the exact quantity, and lots of other prizes donated by the InterContinental hotels in Dubai.
But on to the serious stuff. About 1.5 million tonnes of plastic are used to bottle water every year, and sales of bottled water have risen by 500 per cent in the past decade. Dubai itself produces approximately 3.5kg of waste per person per day, making it one of the world’s largest producers of waste. ‘If everyone in the world lived and consumed natural resources like an average UAE resident, we would require 4.5 planets – but we only have one,’ says programme director Lisa Perry from Emirates Wildlife Society, part of WWF. ‘The majority of our consumption of resources, or ecological footprint, is the carbon component, which is mainly due to energy and water consumption. Unfortunately, we are wastefully consuming these resources, and every individual contributes in some form or another. By living high-consumption lifestyles we increase our waste and our footprint on the planet.’
She explains there are many things we can do to save the environment, from using our own plastic bags when we go shopping to switching off the lights or turning off the tap when brushing our teeth. ‘There are many easy, simple things that don’t affect our lifestyle, but can make a huge difference to the planet,’ she reveals. More recycling centres are starting to appear in Dubai, positioned behind supermarkets and next to bus stations, making the choice to recycle much easier. We just have to take the initiative to use them, believes Lisa.
The organisers of next week’s boating event are encouraging everyone – volunteers, colleagues, neighbours, grocery stores, fish souks and everyone in between – to save up all their useful waste for the event. The race is open to all, whether you’re a company, school or group of friends who appreciate the cause. Schools can enter for free, while it costs Dhs5,000 per corporate team of four. Think you’re up to the challenge?
The key is to displace more water than the weight of your team and boat combined, in order to stay buoyant. Here are a few boat shapes to give you inspiration
The classic: This traditional shape features a large hull with a pointed bow to cut through the water, and sides that are high enough to stop waves crashing into the boat. The basic hull design can be customised to create all sorts of shapes.
The doughnut: It works as a buoyancy device – think lifebelts and armbands – but can you make one big enough for four people without it collapsing in the middle?
The raft: The Chinese swear by it. The simple concept of hollow bamboo poles strapped together works like a charm – would it work with plastic bottles, perhaps?
The banana: Half boat, half raft, it has plenty of air inside that makes it almost impossible to sink. But is it fast? Perhaps some giant oars would be needed.
The lowdown Event: Whatever Floats Your Boat When: November 26, 1pm Where: Festival Marina, Dubai Festival City Entry: Dhs5,000 per team