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 the developed areas and the cities, a significant amount of waste continues to accumulate in the vast deserts of the UAE unintentionally 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 perhaps still happens today.
To tackle this situation and to spread awareness amongst the community, Emirates Environmental Group has hosted the Clean Up UAE campaign every year since 2002. Each year willing participants from all sectors of the society, including corporations, educational institutions and government bodies and families, come together in various sites across the UAE to clean diverse areas. They join committed and driven; they manage to find various items thrown out into the vast Clean Up sites.
It is highly important to collect and treat the waste that damages the local environment and to educate the public on the proper ways of dealing with waste. What the people fail to realise is that the outcomes of their pollution will return to face them, as humans are interconnected with the environment. The waste being dumped in the deserts will directly impact the wildlife, and the toxic chemicals being leached and disintegrated in the soil will bio accumulate to the food chain and will eventually affect the humans as well.
The intense heat exposed to the plastic trash in the UAE deserts makes it brittle as it breaks down into smaller particles and makes it harder to remove it from the same. 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.
HISTORY OF THE CAMPAIGN
Clean Up UAE has proved to be a pioneering environmental activity through successful rallying of thousands of participants each year. Since its inception in 2002, the campaign has achieved continuous growth, with strong support from relevant government bodies, sponsors, and volunteers.
Its uniqueness lies in the bringing together of a spectrum of government organisations, private sector, NGO’s, academic institutions and the community at large. Each year EEG puts forward its best foot and sets a benchmark to attain excellence and better its previous achievements. Over the years, EEG has conducted the Clean Up UAE in each Emirate simultaneously, every December. Having achieved its objectives and building on the success of the previous Clean-Up UAE cycles and keeping in line with the suggestions and requests of stakeholders, EEG further expanded the campaign – by organising several Clean-Up Campaigns throughout the year.