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1,000kg trash removed from seabed

Dhanusha Gokulan (Principal Correspondent)
dhanusha@khaleejtimes.com Filed on February 24, 2013

One thousand kilograms of waste including aluminium cans, empty bottles, plastic, glass, ropes, metal pipes and bits of old boats are now no longer part of the marine life, after a clean up campaign.

About 50 professional deep sea divers cleaned the garbage from the sea floor off the coast of Sharjah.

Organised by the Sharjah Museums Department (SMD) and other government bodies on Saturday the ‘Flag Island Seabed Cleanup Campaign’ is the first-of-its-kind event.

Shaikh Abdul Aziz bin Ali bin Rashid Al Nuaimi, Environmental Advisor to the Ajman Government, and the CEO of Al Ihsan Charity Centre, inaugurated the campaign.

Divers from Al Boom Diving Village, Technical Diving International Centre (TDIC) and other centres volunteered for the clean up drive.

“Located in Mina area in Sharjah near government buildings, Flag Island was inaugurated by His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, to mark the country’s 41st anniversary,” said Rashid Al Shamsi, Head of Operations, SMD. “As part of the celebrations in December last year, several divers dived into the sea. They noticed that the sea bed surrounding Flag Island was very dirty. Also, SMD organises a beach clean-up initiative every year. This year, we decided to clean up under water as well.”

Al Shamsi said the seabed cleanup campaign would be an annual event.

Indian national Aditya Reddy, a diver with TDIC said: “This is the first time I am volunteering for a seabed clean up drive. Each diver would have collected close to 20kg of waste. We collected aluminium cans, ropes, plastic and metal pipes and several other residual wastes from boats.” The team also pulled out two sunken boats from the seabed.

Egyptian national Hanaa El Badawi was the only female diver among the volunteers. A diver with Al Boom Diving Village, Badawi has been diving for five years. She said: “It was very dirty down there. We must have collected about 20kg of garbage. However, more work is required to completely clean up the seabed,” Badawi added.

The campaign was jointly organised by the Sharjah Aquarium and the Sharjah Maritime Museum, in collaboration with Shurooq, the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority. The programme also featured four lectures on the importance of the sea environment and the danger pollution poses to marine life.

The speakers highlighted the importance of conservation and the protection of marine life. The event also included a workshop for children on the importance of recycling, as well as a theatre programme and various competitions. At the end of the initiative, all participating bodies and volunteers were honoured.

SMD director-general Manal Ataya said the department had an annual campaign ‘Because We Care’, which was part of its ongoing efforts to enhance public awareness on caring for the marine environment.

“We aim to educate our community about the importance of not littering, if we are to show our appreciation for the great gift our beautiful beaches and oceans are to us. We have chosen Flag Island this year to carry out our fourth clean-up campaign due to its significance as a new landmark in Sharjah. It is our duty to keep our public parks and spaces clean for everyone to enjoy.”

dhanusha@khaleejtimes.com

author

Dhanusha Gokulan

Originally from India, Dhanusha Gokulan has been working as a journalist for 10 years. She has a keen interest in writing about issues that plague the common person, and will never turn down a human interest story. She completed her Bachelor in Arts in Journalism, Economics, and English Literature from Mangalore University in 2008. In her spare time, she dabbles with some singing/songwriting, loves travelling, and Audible is her favourite mobile application. Tweet at her @wordjunkie88


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