x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Clean Up Arabia drive in the capital today

More than 200 volunteers are expected at the port near the fishermen's wharf in the capital today for the biggest annual underwater clean-up.

ABU DHABI // More than 200 volunteers are expected at the port near the fishermen's wharf in the capital today for the biggest annual underwater clean-up.

The 15th annual Clean Up Arabia starts at 8am and is expected to continue for three hours.

Sheikh Hazza bin Hamdan bin Zayed, the patron of the event, is expected to be among divers who will take to the water to remove litter and debris. The underwater team will be joined by volunteers on foot, cleaning the area around the port.

The clean-up has been organised by the Emirates Diving Association (EDA), is supported by the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi and is being mirrored by hundreds more volunteers in Dubai, Bahrain and Qatar.

"The annual Clean Up Arabia is an ideal opportunity to spread awareness concerning our marine environment," Essa al Ghurair, the vice chairman of the EDA, said. "It provides people with a sense of purpose and achievement that they can make a difference."

The goal is to clear beaches and key dive sites of harmful marine debris, which usually includes discarded fishing gear that can entangle fish, marine turtles and mammals. Plastic litter, which is dangerous to turtles, sea birds and other creatures, is also routinely retrieved by the volunteers.

The clean-up continues tomorrow along the beach by Le Meridien Al Aqah Beach Resort and Spa in Fujairah, where 425 people are expected to attend. Another 50 volunteers are expected at the marina in Ras al Khaimah.

vtodorova@thenational.ae