Gulf News

Community reporters raise battle cry against littering

Community report winners seek a ban on plastic


The future as a dust bowl, with a nearly nonexisten­t global population of animals and plants is no longer just a cinematic interpreta­tion. Perhaps we are not as near a blighted tomorrow as seen in Interstell­ar but if the WWF’s Living Planet Report for 2016 is anything to go by, then we can expect a 58 per cent decline in global biodiversi­ty by 2020. That is just about three years away!

The report states that we are “putting the survival of other species and our own future at risk” unless “we act now”.

And two of the biggest threats are habitat loss and degradatio­n, along with pollution. We need animals, we need flora and fauna to continue as a species, we are inter-dependent. So, when we kill them off, we kill ourselves off. A point well raised in our top community report for January.

The article, “Al Qudra Lake, from campsite to dumping ground”, the result of a collaborat­ive effort by three readers, Mohammad Abdul Gaffar, Nassil Mohammad and Vismaya Sanilkumar, showed the environmen­tal impact of littering - dead swans, herons battling plastic bags and garbage covering the shore of the lake. It takes 500-1,000 years for plastic to degrade. So all this rubbish is going to be around for a while.

Al Qudra is a beautiful lake and campsite created for the community with a habitat that is home to nearly 175 species of birds, which is being slowly decimated because people cannot be bothered to clean up after themselves. Maintainin­g a water body in the middle of the desert is a tall task that the authoritie­s have done their best to fulfil. The least, we, as residents could do is to ensure that it is not destroyed by our ignorance and misconduct. Go green, stop littering and save your planet.

Second place goes to the report, “Yoga enthusiast­s banned from park in Dubai”, by Shivashank­ari Pasupathy. The headline offers the gist of the story. But this was a report that got a lot of reaction from our readers. Many were using the park for group yoga but have now been restricted to smaller numbers. It was unfortunat­e that a response from Dubai Municipali­ty was not forthcomin­g on the matter. But we hope that they will look into the issue.

Third place goes to Adithiyan Rajan and his group of 12 students who decided to raise awareness about the dangers of using plastic at a local supermarke­t. Their campaign aims to help adults understand the need to limit the use of plastic as much as possible.

As said by Meghana Senthil Kumar, a member of the group: “I find it absolutely ironic how every bit of plastic that has ever been created still exists and this polymer has been wrecking ... the world.”

According to, “enough plastic is thrown away each year to circle the Earth four times”. Not surprising, because the site stated that approximat­ely 500 billion plastic bags are used worldwide each year. That is more than 1 million bags being used every minute. So please — reduce, reuse, recycle.

First: Mohammad Abdul Gaffar, Nassil Mohammad and Vismaya Sanilkumar

Published on January 19 A collaborat­ive effort between three readers resulted in a detailed report about the dire situation at Al Qudra Lake in Dubai. Mohammad Abdul Gaffar, a sales executive based in Dubai, came across a dead swan during his visit to the campsite with his family. His first instinct was to take a picture and send an alert to the newspaper. “Community reports provide a good platform to people living in the UAE to share their concerns and it is becoming more popular as we see more people writing reports,” he said. Nassil Mohammad, a sales executive based in Dubai, spotted a heron trying to consume a plastic bag at the same location. As a photograph­y enthusiast, Mohammad is always on the lookout for locations where he can find different species of birds and so chose Al Qudra Lake. He said: “Community reports are a good platform to raise awareness about such issues. People interested in Nature and birds would love to visit this destinatio­n. But people’s behaviour will shut it down.” Vismaya Sanilkumar, a student based in Sharjah, believes that such reports are raising awareness about “otherwise ignored aspects of our surroundin­gs”. As someone who makes a conscious effort to be environmen­tally friendly, Sanilkumar is happy that he has a platform to express his concerns. “These reports have helped me to become more conscious of the environmen­t and the effects of mankind’s actions,” he said.

 ??  ??
 ??  ??
 ??  ??
 ??  ??
 ??  ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Arab Emirates