More than 37,000 volunteers are expected to collect almost 400 tonnes of rubbish this week as part of Dubai Municipality's annual Clean up the World campaign.
Dozens of schoolgirls were the first volunteers to take part in the four-day event, launched yesterday at Mamzar beach.
They were joined by employees from various companies who helped them clean the beauty spot.
"Dubai is going to see a fantastic joint action between government, private sector, organisations and the public in coming days to preserve our nature and recourses" said Eng Hussain Nasser Lootah, director general of Dubai Municipality.
"This collective effort and dedication is unparalleled and the result will be four days of spectacular voluntary activities capable of bringing tremendous results," he said.
"Our main goal is to educate the public," said Mr Abdul Majeed Saifaie, director of waste management department. "We don't measure the success of this campaign by how much rubbish is collected, we are more interested to know how much the children and their parents have learned from the experience. That's how we can have lasting change in their daily life."
Exhibitions, workshops, cultural activities, traditional tents, kiosks as well as various other awareness activities added colour to the opening ceremony.
Clean-up activities were also held yesterday in Hatta, Satwa, Umm Suqeim, Jebel Ali, Qusais and Mizhar. Today, volunteers will tackle Al Safouh while tomorrow, awareness activities will be organised in Nad Al Sheba. On Friday, the last day of the campaign, clean-ups will take place in various labour camps, desert areas and beaches.
A short-story contest about the environment for schoolchildren is also planned as well as workshops and lectures focusing on environment preservation.
"The best way to get people involved in changing their daily practices is through children," says Mr Saifaie. "Such hands on activities have a stronger impact on the younger generation, and they in turn have a better chance at passing on that information to members of their family than we do."
Last year, 37,000 volunteers collected 375 tonnes of rubbish. Officials are expecting more this year
The waste management department is running a "Green Box" campaign until the end of the month to encourage municipality employees to reduce waste and reuse items. The department is arranging to collect old electronic and plastic goods. A trip has been planned for municipality employees and their families to Manara Saadiyat, Abudhabi, to visit the "Future of Environment" exhibition.