Plastic waste endangers animal life

Anwar Ahmad
Filed on March 2, 2010

One in two camels die from swallowing plastic waste dumped in the UAE deserts as most plastic bags take over 400 years to biodegrade.

According to Abu Dhabi Marine Operating Company plastic bags cause over 100,000 sea turtle and other marine animal deaths every year in the UAE when animals mistakenly swallow them for food.

ADMA-OPCO organised an “Open Environment Day” to mark the UAE National Environment Day, which fell on February 4. This year’s theme is ‘The UAE free of plastic bags’.

The ordinary plastics can be re-used and recycled but if plastic bags are littered they can last for many centuries. Some 300 employees of ADMA-OPCO, Zadco and Esnaad, which are part of ADNOC group of companies, took part in the clean-up drive and collected 4-5 tonnes of waste in few hours at Al Bahar beach garden in Mussafah in the Capital. The workers collected the littered plastic bags, cans, cigarette butts, steel wares, iron wires and wood. ADMA-OPCO’s awareness drive will continue in different phases throughout the year focusing on not to use plastic bags.

General manager of ADMA-OPCO, Ali Rashid Al Jarwan said, “We will be focussing this year on controlling the usage of plastic bags as it has adverse effects on animals that swallow them, human beings, marine life and environment. A large number of animals die every year due to consumption of these bags.”

“We find the plastic bags littered everywhere, spoiling the natural beauty of beaches and deserts.

It takes thousands of years to biodegrade. We have to spread message among our neighbours and colleagues about it,” Al Jarwan said. He also announced the launching of an environment website ‘Beeaty’ soon.

Al Jarwan also planted a tree in front of Esnaad’s sports complex in Musaffah here. Mohammed Al Mansoori, HSE manager at Esnaad, said, Esnaad successfully decreased the waste generation up to 14 per cent by mobilising campaigns and spreading awareness among its employees. It also reduced consumption of water up to 8 per cent.

“We have also minimised the use of paper in our offices at Esnaad and introduced printing of papers on both sides,” Al Mansoori said.

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