Boy who used football craze for green message honoured
Dubai - Using his own Eid money, Mohammed distributed hand-decorated reusable bags to a number of groceries near his home in Karama.
A 10-year-old Dubai student, who turned his love for the World Cup into an innovative way to reduce plastic bag waste, has been honoured by the Dubai Municipality (DM).
Following the Khaleej Times article on June 25, 'Boy uses football frenzy to send a message against plastic waste', Abdulmajeed Abdulaziz Saifaie, director of waste management department at the municipality, was keen to meet the boy behind the story, Faiz Mohammed. And during a meeting between the two on Tuesday, he named the youngster one of the municipality's 'Sustainability Ambassadors'.
Using his own Eid money, Mohammed distributed hand-decorated reusable bags to a number of groceries near his home in Karama, after he grew tired of seeing so many plastic bags being wasted on home deliveries.
His own investigation revealed that on average, each small grocery was using about 1,200 bags a month to deliver goods. To combat the excess wastage, he distributed the free tote bags in place of plastic ones. And that smart and sustainable thinking caught the attention of Saifaie.
"I was so proud and happy to see the story. If you keep doing what you're doing, we will see big change. Going forward, I want you to keep in close contact with my team and give more ideas to help tackle waste here in the UAE," Saifaie told Mohammed.
"The fact that this boy didn't use his Eid money to buy a ball, toy, or something for himself is commendable. He has a good hobby. If his family and community keep encouraging that, he will have a good future and so will the environment," he said.
Discussing different ideas to work on together in the future, Mohammed said his plan is to scale up his reusable bags initiative to groceries across Dubai. Saifaie told him that the DM will help fund his move. "We will visit you at your school and speak to your fellow students to spread awareness about what you are doing. We spend millions per year to bring this idea of sustainable practice into students' minds, but you are doing it on your own. We will support you. You do not need to take money from your own pocket anymore."
Thanking the municipality for the opportunity, Mohammed said he felt honoured to be named a Sustainability Ambassador.
"I feel so glad to be here. It gives me much encouragement to meet the director of waste management. He has been telling me to continue in my path to help curb waste. So I will keep urging friends, family and shop workers about the importance of using reusable bags in place of plastic ones."
The municipality's Ambassador for Sustainability initiative was launched in 2013 with the aim to train students on how to carry out lectures and workshops on various environmental topics.