x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Don't bathe, Government tells airport visitors

Abu Dhabi municipality's campaign to conserve water and electricity is greeting visitors and residents arriving at two airport terminals.

The UAE has one of the highest water consumption rates in the world. Ryan Carter / The National
The UAE has one of the highest water consumption rates in the world. Ryan Carter / The National

If everyone who passes through Abu Dhabi International Airport during one day chose to shower rather than take a bath, the water saved would fill two million half-litre water bottles. 

And if all Abu Dhabi residents set their air-conditioning just 1°C higher in summer, the reduction in greenhouse emissions would be equivalent to taking 100,000 cars off the road for a year. These are the hard facts behind a new Government initiative, 'Turn it off', which targets water and electricity wastage.

Passengers who arrived at terminals one and three yesterday were greeted by a two-metre-high light bulb, as well as two giant taps and two electricity switches. Signs called on people to turn off taps while brushing their teeth, shorten showers and unplug appliances. 

"The simple steps we are suggesting through this campaign will make a positive environmental impact in the long run," said Majid al Mansouri, secretary general of Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD), which is running the campaign.

With more than 11 million people passing through the airport every year, it is a good launch pad for the initiative, according to Khalifa Mazrouei, chairman of the Abu Dhabi Airports Company. "It is an important location because it is our international gate," he said. As well as the installations, the message will be spread through posters, 12 large digital screens and 77 smaller screens. "We have covered all areas at the airport, nobody can miss it," Mr Mazrouei said.

The UAE has one of the largest carbon footprints per capita in the world and one of the highest water consumption rates in the world. The organisers will run surveys of airport visitors to gauge whether the message is getting through. "We want to know if people get the message ... and are they going to change their behaviour?" Eduardo Gonçalves, director of the environment awareness sector at EAD, said.

vtodorova@thenational.ae