x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

The women’s majlis: Green living starts at home in the carbon footprint battle Green living starts in the home

What can the UAE do to reduce its carbon footprint?

Each month, Weekend will pose a different question to be debated on by a series of female Emirati columnists. This month, we ask Ayesha Al Khoori:

What can the UAE do to reduce its carbon footprint?

Comparing the UAE’s carbon footprint with other countries, it might not be as much as the United States or China, which have the highest levels. Yet the UAE’s 8.4 global hectares per person is several times higher than the global average.

Reducing this number requires efforts from both individuals and the Government.

One of the things that we can do is turn off the lights at home when we are not in the room. Also, now that the UAE is enjoying a cool, wintery season, we are able to try to keep away from the air conditionings. Having natural breeze in the household not only reduces the energy used by air conditioners, but also fixes one’s mood. Also, sleeping with the windows open and letting in the cool night air helps one sleep comfortably.

The Government has provided the country with various means of public transportation including buses and the Metro. But something should be done to encourage more people to use them. The increased use of public transportation will surely reduce the carbon footprint of the country.

Another easy way of conserving energy is to provide free, mandatory school buses. Not only will it save on bus fees and the family petrol finances, but it will cut back on the long lines of cars that sit idling on the school run.

In the UAE, where most families are generally big, it is common for households to have several cars. Cutting back on the number of cars, as hard as that may sound, is possible.

Other little things we can do at home include recycling and reusing. In my family, we tend to reuse paper, plastic and aluminium. My mother uses the plastic plates and boxes we get from takeout food to store extra food in the fridge and freezer. That way, she doesn’t need to use her precious plates daily and wear them out, and also helps the environment.

Instead of throwing away scraps of paper, my sister uses them to create beautiful art designs on wood, plastic and glass. Even though I don’t know how she does it, it does seem like fun and at the same time it prevents those pieces of paper from getting burnt or thrown in landfills.

There should be more campaigns to make people aware of this issue. Every person should take part in this.

Ayesha Al Khoori is a leader writer with The National.

aalkhoori@thenational.ae

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