ABU DHABI // Litter was the enemy in two separate volunteer events in Abu Dhabi yesterday.
Piles of rubbish - plastic bottles, bags and cans - were pulled from the area around the fisherman's port and the mangroves off Salam Street.
At 8am yesterday, participants in the 15th annual "Clean Up Arabia" drive dived into the waters around the port, hauling out litter that filled 91 large rubbish bags with "mainly beverage cans and bottles". Another 113 bags of rubbish were recovered from the shore.
"It seems there are people just throwing a lot of garbage in this area," said Ibrahim al Zu'bi, an adviser to the Emirates Diving Association, which organised the event with the Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi.
Later, across town, a group of 60 descended on the mangrove-lined beach in the community park on Salam Street. The clean-up was one of many community initiatives under the Green Abu Dhabi art show, which closes today.
"A year ago, I was on this same spot and I just got fed up," said Suhail Jashanmal, the artist who came up with the project.
The diverse group of volunteers included the local artist Fatima al Mazrouie, a four-piece jazz band from Switzerland, a businessman visiting the capital, and Ahmed Majdy, 13, from Egypt.
"I want to help that beach to be clean," said Ahmed, whose parents and four siblings also took part.
The mangrove clean-ups will continue throughout the year, once every three weeks.