Save the environment in Dubai

Are we doing enough to look after our environment in the UAE? Let's face it, probably not. <em>Time Out</em> asks the experts and finds out more

Area Guides
Marijke, 34, teacher

When I first came to the GCC I was surprised to see all garbage goes in one bag, and that there is minimal recycling. It’s good to see people are cleaning up with initiatives like this, but if on a daily basis all people separate their glass, plastic and compost, and stop throwing everything in the street for someone else to clean it up, it would not be necessary! In Europe this is an everyday thing.

Marta, 44, mother

I spent at least two hours on the phone trying to find out where to recycle things in Dubai – it really shouldn’t be that hard. It’s like we’re supposed to feel grateful that there’s a couple of recycling bins outside bus stops. Dubai needs to look at Europe for inspiration and get its head out of the sand.

Chris, 32, retail manager

I read a feature in Time Out a few months ago about how all this rubbish kills camels. I am not surprised to be honest, I moved here 10 years ago and the problem is 10 times worse today. I do think people need to take action though, so I’ve joined the Middle East 4x4 group and go on their desert clear ups.

David, 55, PR director

It’s a great idea and a tremendous community effort which will no doubt highlight the problem of littering in this country – but only for a moment in time. How about trying to do this all the time? How many times have we seen bags of litter being tossed out of cars after the occupant has consumed the goods, or people nonchalantly leaving empty bottles on the sidewalk for others to clean up? A few weeks ago I travelled over to a beach on the east coast with my family – the beach at Khorfakkan was a cess pit and most others just the same. If you are serious about litter bugging then get serious.

Ganed, 45, engineer

I have a plastic bag in my car for all my litter. I will move back to my tidy country in a few years and actually shouldn’t be the one that cares. It takes approximately 100 years for an aluminium can to disappear and that is longer than the life time of many high rise buildings in Dubai. A plastic bottle, the PET bottle used for carbonated drinks, takes even more! In 500 years, archaeologists will find this place and will think that is a waste dump area. In Europe we recycle paper, aluminium cans, bottles and we have been doing that since childhood.

Graham, 34, manager

Great idea. Though I strongly suspect that the vast majority of participants will be the very same people at the sharp end of Dubai Municipality’s efforts to curb sharing of accommodation. Maybe there should be a credits system – if you help to clean up the place, they’ll leave you in peace to get on with your life?

Clean Up the World

The Clean Up the World campaign is held in mid-September worldwide with more than 40 million volunteers participating in clean-up initiatives in 109 countries, but is delayed in Dubai to save people from the sweaty climes.

In 2007, around 18,300 persons participated, 10 per cent more than in 2006, removing between them 4,040 tonnes of litter and debris from various areas. This year Dubai Municipality saw more than 20,000 volunteers join forces as part of the Clean Up the World 2008 and that’s expected to increase by 10 per cent in 2009.

The Clean Up the World campaign originated in Australia and was the brainchild of Ian Kiernan who organised a clean up of Sydney harbour in 1989. He was moved by the significant amount of marine litter that he noticed while sailing in the BOC Challenge solo around-the-world race in 1987.

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