Dubai Municipality on Thursday launched a 10-day desert clean-up campaign under the slogan, “Keep the place clean ... for others else to enjoy it ", which will continue until 12 March.
Eng. Hussein Nasser Lootah, Director General of Dubai Municipality, who launched the campaign at Al Warqa area in the presences of senior officials of Dubai Municipality, Dubai Police and Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing and representatives of the sponsors, said the first of its kind campaign in the UAE is closely linked to the main functions of the Municipality.
“The campaign will shed light on one of the important environmental issues in the United Arab Emirates and intensify the efforts to raise awareness of the negative impacts of the issue and publicize the efforts made by the concerned authorities in the country in facing it, and protecting the environment and its development in general,” he said.
“In the spring season the desert areas witness a high turnout of picnickers from all segments of the society, and the hills, sandy areas and the roadside areas experience a lot of activities, individually and collectively, such as mountain biking, camping, etc. However, the level of environmental awareness of these visitors vary, some of them leave the place clean and collect the waste resulting from their activity and dispose it off safely, and some of them leave the large quantities waste and go without thinking of others who would use the area later, in addition to distorting the area’s general appearance,” Lootah pointed out.
He said that the campaign is aimed at achieving the third strategic direction (to ensure a clean environment and sustainable development in the Emirate of Dubai) and the fifth strategic goal (to maintain the cleanliness of all areas in the Emirate of Dubai).
“In addition, it will educate young people, instill in them the spirit of maintaining hygiene in all places, guide the public, make them aware of the appropriate ways to get rid of the waste resulting from their activities and identify areas for dropping bags of waste, reduce waste generation, use materials that are recyclable and can be reused several times, reduce the use of plastic materials with inevitable harm to wildlife and desert, create a positive image of the desert environment, highlight the value of the desert in the hearts of visitors, involve visitors of desert areas in implementation of hygiene and the develop their role to preserve the environment around them and educate the visitors of desert areas regarding the violation of legal procedures applicable for the dumping or leaving the waste carelessly,” said Lootah.
“The campaign focuses on the preservation of various types of environments in the UAE, including the desert environment, which is the major environment in the country, which represents, like other environments, an important part of our heritage and history, and seeks to elevate the level of environmental awareness in the emirate and improve the partnerships with various sectors of the community to develop the process of environmental action. Also, it contributes to the development of sustainable eco-tourism, where this environment with its purity and serenity represents an important tourist attraction area through the important tourist projects established in the heart of the desert that received great interest from a large number of citizens, residents and tourists,” he said.
Lootah called upon the entire society for the earnest and active participation in the responsibility to protect the natural resources and environment for the present and future generations and to honestly implement the contribution.
Eng. Abdul Majeed Sifaee Director of Waste Management Department said that the danger of such waste is that it may harm humans and animals as a result of exposure to pieces of broken glass or tin cans or plastic bags.
“It also disfigures the beauty of the desert areas as they are tourist attractions. The Municipality organizes field visits to the visitors of desert areas to guide and teach them the necessity to maintain the location. The bags for waste collection will be distributed in addition to the pamphlets in which the instructions and tips for the visitors of these places and promotional gifts for committed groups to clean the place,” said Sifaee.
He also noted that in coordination with the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, the field visits to tourist camps will be conducted by a team raising awareness of waste management and of quality officers of Dubai Municipality and Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, in order to guide them and distribute leaflets and bags for them.
A scout camp and awareness exhibition, including an exhibition of images of the campaign and brochures, in addition to the awareness, education and entertainment activities for the visitors of desert areas is being conducted during the campaign. Recreational activities associated with the campaign include preparing popular dishes, camel and horse rides.
He added that du has provided 3,000 phone cards (Hello) free of charge for the waste management labourers at Dubai Municipality, in addition to coordination with the Union Cooperative Society to print the campaign logo on its bags, as well as to put the slogan in the public screens, and T-shirts bearing the logo of the clean-up campaign in desert areas. A number of schools, universities and government bodies are also invited to participate in the clean-up operations during the campaign period.
It should be noted that Waste Management Department has issued a set of local orders and legislation that seeks to clarify the responsibility of individuals and society towards cleaner environment, as the Dubai Municipality wishes to spread environmental awareness among people on the desert areas to preserve the natural environment and wildlife in the desert areas.