We have to change our at­ti­tude to lit­ter­ing

▶ Pre­serv­ing the clean­li­ness of the UAE’s coast­line should be a duty for all of us

The National - News - - OPINION -

Though sci­en­tists have long been sound­ing the alarm over the en­vi­ron­ment, some peo­ple refuse to lis­ten. Many coun­tries have in­tro­duced en­vi­ron­men­tal poli­cies to raise aware­ness at com­mu­nity level. But the jour­ney to en­vi­ron­men­tal re­spon­si­bil­ity is an ar­du­ous one.

In the UAE, the gov­ern­ment has launched nu­mer­ous en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion ini­tia­tives, as part of its UAE Vi­sion 2021, to achieve a sus­tain­able en­vi­ron­ment. Sev­eral poli­cies were also in­tro­duced at emi­rate-level to im­prove ma­rine en­vi­ron­ment and pro­tect it from pol­lu­tion. Over the past decade, com­pa­nies across the coun­try have stepped up ef­forts and pulled up their sleeves to take part in clean-up cam­paigns, a cor­po­rate con­tri­bu­tion mostly car­ried out in the frame of public-pri­vate part­ner­ships. In a broader ef­fort to keep our cities and beaches clean, en­vi­ron­men­tal au­thor­i­ties, mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties or civil so­ci­ety vol­un­teers went on clean-up cam­paigns, pulling tonnes of rub­bish from wa­ters along the shores of Mus­saf­fah and Al Mafraq in Abu Dhabi, and from the Dubai Creek, as The Na­tional re­ported.

Lit­ter­ing in coastal wa­ters, whether by in­di­vid­u­als, fac­to­ries or boats, is caus­ing grave dam­age to the ma­rine en­vi­ron­ment and af­fect­ing bio­di­ver­sity. Ac­cord­ing to Lt Col Ali Ab­dul­lah Al Naqbi, head of the mar­itime res­cue depart­ment of Dubai Po­lice: “Fish and other crea­tures are all be­ing af­fected by lit­tered waste. Over 50 tonnes are col­lected an­nu­ally from Dubai wa­ters.” That is a stag­ger­ing num­ber. En­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion is con­sid­ered a main ob­jec­tive of the UAE’s de­vel­op­men­tal poli­cies. A greater en­force­ment of ma­rine pro­tec­tion poli­cies is nec­es­sary, but the least every one of us can do is en­sure the wa­ters that nur­ture ma­rine life stay clean.

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