As the population of the UAE increases each year, the amount of waste produced and the demand for its efficient management and treatment also rises. It is estimated that UAE produces more than 29 million tons of municipal waste each year. While the government has developed a protocol to deal with the municipal waste from developed areas, a significant amount of waste continues to accumulate in the vast deserts of the UAE due to the ignorance of tour operators, campers and a small percentage of irresponsible members of the society. On the other hand, there might also be intentional dumping of the construction waste in the deserts to avoid the pertinent charges associated with it. This has been seen in the past and still happens today.
To tackle this situation and spread awareness amongst the community, EEG has successfully hosted the Clean Up UAE campaign every year since 2002. Each year, an increasing number of volunteers from all sectors of the society, including corporations, educational institutions and government bodies, come together in various sites across the UAE to clean diverse areas. They are committed and driven to find various items thrown out in various sites. In 2019, more than 28,500 volunteers participated while collecting 43,274 kg of waste, which cleared 62.4 km²
It is highly important to collect and treat the waste that damages the local environment and educate the public on the appropriate ways of dealing with waste. This is because people fail to realise is the outcomes of their polluting habits being an issue for mankind in the long run, as humans are interconnected with the environment. The waste being dumped in the deserts will directly impact wildlife, and its toxic chemicals being leached and disintegrated in the soil will bio accumulate the food chain, which will eventually affect the humans as well. The intense heat exposed to the plastic trash in the UAE desert makes it brittle as it breaks down into smaller particles which integrate with the sand, making it difficult for removal. In the UAE beaches, plastic bottles being washed ashore from the sea are broken down into smaller particles from the intense heat and the constant movement of SUV vehicles over the bottles.