Drop the plastic bag, EAD advises consumers

ABU DHABI — In a drive to help educate and prepare the residents for the 2013 deadline to make the UAE free of plastic bags, a public lecture, workshops and fun activities were held in the Capital over the weekend.

By Olivia Olarte

Published: Mon 20 Feb 2012, 1:09 AM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 4:41 PM

Parents and children took a break from their leisurely stroll at Al Wahda Mall to listen with interest as speakers from the Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi (EAD) talked about the damage that plastic bags do to the environment and provided tips on how to reduce their consumption.

“The US uses about 21 billion plastic bags a year and the UAE, which is a (considerably) smaller country uses 11 billion. This is a big quantity,” said Ramez Najarine, a volunteer with the EAD.

To reduce plastic bag usage, he advised filling up a plastic bag while shopping.

He also underscored the importance of reusing or recycling bags, and of shifting to using only biodegradable material especially in garbage bins.

Asked about the economic advantage of buying biodegradable bags, Najarine told Khaleej Times: “They are actually not that expensive when calculated against the long-term environmental benefit. Non-biodegradable plastic bags take over a thousand years to actually decompose.”

In a workshop, parents were taught how to make eco-friendly bags out of old shirts and trousers that would usually be only thrown away. At the storytelling corner for the kids, the young ones learned how plastic bags, when improperly disposed, get blown over to the sea and the desert and affect turtles and camels.

“Turtles feed on jelly fish and when they see a plastic bag floating in the sea they think it’s a jelly fish. They eat it and they get sick,” the young listeners were told. Similarly, camels eat plastic bags they find in the desert.

“Fifty per cent of camels that die each year die because of eating plastic bags.”

The month-long campaign by the EAD will continue in Al Ain next weekend and the Western Region the following week.


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