This annual Gulf-wide �Waste Free Environment’ campaign initiated by the GPCA (Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association) aims to educate the public about the need to preserve the environment and stop the irresponsible disposing of waste. The campaign was organised in cooperation with Tadweer (Centre of Waste Management – Abu Dhabi), Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) and Chemaweyaat. Over 1,500 volunteers including students from various schools, company and association employees, scuba divers and members of the local community participated in the campaign to clean up these three beaches.
In addition to taking critical steps to clean up these areas on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi City and Jebel Dhanna, Borouge and its strategic partners highlighted the negative impact that littering can cause to land and marine environments. Litter left on the Gulf’s beaches has a significant impact on marine life as it makes its way out to sea.
Eisa Saif Al Qubaisi, General Manager of Tadweer (Centre of Waste Management – Abu Dhabi), said “Littering is one of the major threats to the UAE’s fragile desert and marine eco-systems. By supporting this campaign, Tadweer wants to address one of the pressing issues it faces in its daily operations, which is the alarming increase in the amount of waste generated by our community. By awakening public consciousness about the dangers of littering, Tadweer seeks to reiterate the importance of public awareness and engagement in waste reduction. We hope that such strategic partnerships will achieve our shared vision for a greener UAE and mitigate the impact of human activity on our environment.” “Through this clean-up campaign, we focus on our collective responsibility to protect our environment,” said Abdulaziz Alhajri, CEO of Abu Dhabi Polymers Company (Borouge). “We need to change our habits of disposing plastic products after they have provided a valuable contribution to enhancing our lives and adopt the eco-friendly concepts of reducing, reusing and recycling our waste. We thank all the volunteers who joined us at this campaign and we look forward to many more people who care about the environment to join us in future clean-up campaigns.” “The responsible disposal of litter is up to every citizen; the presence of plastics litter in the marine and desert environments of the Gulf are due to poor waste management, lack of regulatory framework and insufficient recycling infrastructure,” added Dr. Abdulwahab Al Sadoun, Secretary General of the GPCA. “The �Waste Free Environment’ campaign is a reflection of our commitment as an industry to encourage best practices of waste management and to raise the public awareness about the essential societal benefits of plastics.” Fozeya Al Mahmoud, Director of Environmental Outreach at the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD), said “Supporting Borouge in organising this clean-up day is in line with our Agency’s mission to protect the environment and increase public awareness about the impact pollution can have on the Emirate’s natural habitats and biological resources. Such initiatives help us encourage a positive attitude towards maintaining a clean and sound environment through practice and participation”.
Waste Management Over 35,000 tonnes of waste is being generated within Abu Dhabi daily and according to the Statistics Centre, the solid municipal waste generation per capita is 1.5kg/day, significantly higher than developed countries in Western Europe.
The GPCA estimates that 33% out of the 80 million tonnes of waste generated in the GCC countries each year is plastic waste, and less than 10% of plastics is recycled in the Gulf region.
Mechanical recycling is considered to be the most effective and sustainable solution for managing plastic waste and Abu Dhabi already has a recycling plant in Al Ain that has the capacity to recycle 50 tonnes of high density polyethylene (HDPE) and low density polyethylene (LDPE) plastics daily. Quality recycled plastics from this plant are used to manufacture a broad range of useful products such as rigid plastic crates, containers and bottles.
Pointing to the increased usage of oxo-degradable plastics, Craig Halgreen, Vice President Corporate Sustainability at Borouge, said “Besides the negative impact of these plastics on mechanical recycling, oxo-degradable plastics tend to encourage indiscriminate littering as people believe these plastics will disintegrate within a short period of time when in fact the remaining plastic particles never totally disappear and continue to potentially cause harm to the environment. In addition to improving our behavior towards littering, we should all contribute to creating less waste by avoiding light-weight plastic bags altogether and rather use strong heavy-weight reusable plastic bags for our shopping.” WAM/tfaham