Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Clean up the World 2009: "Communities

Dubai, 21 October 2009: Nearly 22,000 volunteers will take part next week in the country's largest voluntary clean up drive, which will also include several awareness initiatives aimed at reducing waste and encouraging the public to reuse or recycle.

Clean Up the World 2009, which is observed under the banner: “Communities Uniting to Clean up and Conserve the Environment,” is held from 27 to 30 October.

Dubai Municipality has unveiled the campaign's activities in a press conference on Wednesday at Grand Hyatt attended by Eng. Hassan Makki, Director of Waste Management Department and Eng. Yaqoob Al Ali, Coordinator of the campaign.

Also present were representatives of the event's sponsors including Wadih Boustani, General Manager for Sales and Marketing at Gulf Eternit Industries, Mahmood Sait, Account Manager, Zenath Recycling & Waste Management LLC of ETA ASCON Group, Ahmed Hussain, Environment Manager, Dubal, and Paul J Murphy, Director of Events, Grand Hyatt.

“Dubai Municipality is committed to improve public cleanliness in the emirate in cooperation with individuals, government establishments, private firms and non-governmental organizations through effective participation,” said Mr. Makki.

He noted that it is the 16th consecutive year that Dubai is organizing the campaign which has such noble objectives as forging a sense of mutual cooperation among organizations and institutions concerned with environment in planning and executing environment action programmes, enhancing environment awareness of the community on waste reduction and recycling issues, ensuring participation of institutions and individuals in environment programmes, cleaning up the local environment, and encouraging team-work in finding lasting solutions for the growing waste problem.

“The campaign also seeks to encourage media to focus on environment protection activities thereby enhancing awareness of governments and industries with regard to local environment issues such as waste reduction, recycling and safe disposal of waste,” said Makki.

He said the Waste Management Department has lined up a host of activities for the opening of the campaign on 27 October.

Makki also thanked the sponsors of the campaign, Al Naboodah Group, Al Habtoor Group, ETA, Gulf Eternit Industries, Grand Hyatt, adding that these contributions and participations showcase the spirit of cooperation between the public and private sector in the country in achieving success to the environmental awareness activities organized by Dubai Municipality.

He said the Municipality has been actively participating in this world initiative since 1994. "In the beginning it was only 200 people who participated in the campaign, however, last year the number reached 20,500 represented by different categories of the society, organizations, establishments, government bodies and individuals," he said.

Preparations for the clean up are already under way with the Municipality trying to facilitate an even greater level of participation than last year. In 2008 4,150 tonnes of waste including debris and abandoned vehicle was removed from various areas.

Shedding light on various activities of the campaign, Yaqoob Al Ali, campaign coordinator, said apart from Dubai Municipality, several government departments, NGOs, and voluntary organizations are participating in this year’s campaign.

The official launch of the event will be held on Tuesday 27 October 2009 at Al Mamzar Corniche with senior government officials and representatives of the sponsors attending. The opening day event, which will begin at 10am, will also include signing an agreement on collecting religious publications and newspapers from mosques, launch of a campaign on avoiding throwing cigarette butts on public places, environment-themed stage presentation by school students, recreation programmes for students through workshops, most beautiful painting competition for school students, clean up activities at the Fishermen's Village and honouring and distribution of certificates and souvenirs to the participants.

The second day’s (Wednesday, 28 October) activities, to be held at Al Mamzar area, will include clean up by volunteers from government educational institutions. The programme will include distribution of litter bins to schools, abandoned vehicles removal campaign in coordination with the operations unit and honouring participants and distribution of certificates and souvenirs.

On the third day (Thursday, 29 October), volunteers from private schools, colleges, and universities will participate in the clean up programme at Al Sufooh. Also on this day, a competition will be held on can collection for private schools, in addition to undertaking pest control activities, workshops on pest at all waste bins in coordination with the operations unit and honouring participants and distribution of certificates and souvenirs.

The last day of the campaign (Friday, 30 October) will see thousands of volunteers from the general public including private company staff, non-governmental organizations, community groups and private entities joining hands in cleaning up Nadd Al Shiba Area. Also on Friday, a clean up programme will be organized by the Filipino community and employees of Dnata at Mamzar Beach.

The main areas for clean up activities will be Nadd Al Shiba, desert area in Wadi al Amradi, bachelor accommodation areas in Al Quoz, Nadd Al Hamr, Al Khawaneej, Al Aweer area behind Defence Camp, Al Qusais Labour Camp and Ras Al Khor Natural Sanctuary. Other areas include Jaddaf Fishermen's Village, Jumeirah-1 Fishermen's Village, Heritage Village area, Jumeirah and Umm Suqeim open beaches, Hatta Tourist areas, Industrial areas, Jebel Ali Port Free Zone area, Diving Beach and Creek, and labour camps.

The awareness programmes, organized on the sidelines of the campaign at one of the shopping malls, include workshops for general public on recycling and reducing waste, environmental painting, Municipality Souq for plastic bags, environmental workshops on making usable materials from waste, distribution of saplings to public to encourage horticulture and its role in curbing climate change, and distribution of awareness publications.

The educational programmes for schools include broadcasting campaign programmes on school radios, lectures and workshops for school students on the importance of waste reduction, arranging visits for students to waste recycling factories and natural sanctuaries in the emirate of Dubai, comprehensive educational programme for schools on the role of waste reduction in protecting the environment and curbing the phenomenon of climate change and waste recycling competition for schools and public.

The Environment and Health Awareness Section will organize special awareness programmes for Dubai Municipality staff. The programmes include inviting employees to participate in tree plantation campaign in different areas in coordination with the Public Parks and Horticulture Department, campaign for used materials collection from employees for distributing them to the needy among the employees, email contest, announcement on the occasion and its activities, providing information on the occasion through email, sending SMS to Municipality mobile users and placing the campaign theme on the PCs in the Municipality.

A photography competition will also be conducted on the occasion in coordination with FPGL establishment. A closing ceremony will be held at Hotel Grand Hyatt on 14 November 2009.

Some 22,000 high-quality T-shirts and more than 15,000 caps, printed with the campaign’s logo, will be distributed among the volunteers.

The sponsors of the event include Zenath Recycling & Waste Management LLC, Gulf Eternit Industries LLC, Grand Hyatt Dubai, Gulf & Safa Dairies LLC, Western Union, Union Paper Mills, British American Tobacco, Dubal, Alpha Emirates, Dulsco, Al Ain Water, Abela & Co, Fujeirah Plastic Industries, TCS Express, and Trashco.

The Clean Up the World campaign originated in Australia and was the brainchild of Ian Kiernan who organized a clean up of Sydney harbour in 1989. He was moved by the significant amount of marine litter that he noticed while sailing in the BOC Challenge solo around-the-world race in 1987. Encouraged by the harbour clean up in which 40,000 people participated, he organized Clean Up Australia Day the following year. In 1993, with support and funding from the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and the California based EGBAR foundation, Clean Up the World was launched with 30 million people from 80 countries participating in the first clean-up. Since then it has been held every year and has not stopped growing.

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