x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

UAQ creek gets underwater facelift as part of awareness campaign

Clean-up campaign nets one tonne of waste gathered by workers as young as 13.

UMM AL QAIWAIN // About one tonne of waste has been removed from the UAQ Creek after a three-day cleanup that is part of an ongoing environmental education campaign.

Organised by police in co-operation with the Emirates Diving Association (EDA), the programme aimed to raise awareness among boat owners to stop them dumping rubbish into the sea, said Major Saeed bin Eran of the police branch that supervised the operation.

“We want our people to know that maintenance of the terrestrial and marine environment is an important element of our local habitat,” he said. “About 30 divers have worked with us to clean up the creek.”

The campaign, which began on Friday and ended yesterday, marked the first time the EDA had participated in tidying up thecreek bottom. Those who helped out, some of whom were as young as 13, found all manner of debris in the water, said Mohammed Ali bin Talib, an EDA member.

“Wastes from fishing nets, submerged boats and tyres, among other things, were removed from the bottom,” he said.

For most residents the campaign was just one step on the long journey towards cleaner local waters. Omar Ahmed, who lives in UAQ, said he wanted to see similar clean-ups on the emirate’s sea shores as littering was common.

“The cleaning makes a small difference if it is not done continuously,” he said. “Authorities should fix some days of cleaning in every month as it is done in other emirates. Awareness campaigns on littering should also be done targeting beachgoers. There are very few litter cans on the beaches and some areas have none.”

A short walk on any beach in the emirate reveals how untidy the shores are, with large quantities of waste such as soft drinks cans and bottles, papers and leftover food, said Bashir al Hillal, another local resident.

“There is a bad smell on the beaches,” he said. “The rubbish on the shores also make it difficult for one to go jogging or swimming.”

ykakande@thenational.ae