x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

'Clean Up UAE' campaign expects biggest turnout yet

Environmental activists hope a new campaign will help keep the Emirates clean.

DUBAI // Organisers of the country's largest cleanup campaign are expecting the biggest turnout yet.

The Emirates Environmental Group (EEG) estimates that 25,000 volunteers from across the UAE will participate in Clean Up UAE on December 12. The inaugural event in 2004 drew 4,500 volunteers. Last year, 20,000 people helped clean 106 sites by collecting 100 tonnes of waste.

"Clean Up UAE spreads a message of hope and encouragement to people to address the environmental challenges of the country," said the EEG chairwoman, Habiba Al Marashi.

She said that picnic areas are littered with "all sorts of waste - carpets, metal waste, plastics" and urged "people who visit the desert to ensure they leave the place clean".

"We dream of a day not so far from now when we would not have to do these campaigns," Mrs Al Marashi added. "Environmental protection is everybody's responsibility."

EGG also aims to raise awareness of the need to improve waste management. The UAE produces waste at one of the highest rates in the world. In Abu Dhabi, more than 4.7 million tonnes of municipal waste were produced last year, according to the Centre for Waste Management - Abu Dhabi. In Sharjah, authorities estimate that about 2,000 tons of household waste reach the landfill every day.

"Consumption of goods in this country is at its highest and 'use and throw' seems to be the policy of the day. We, the people of the UAE, are to blame for this mess as we are the ones who go on consuming like there is no tomorrow."

People and companies wishing to join the event can email: eeg@emirates.net.ae.

vtodorova@thenational.ae