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Two Dubai expats carry waste for a month to highlight excess consumption

Crystal Faith Skinner/Dubai
Filed on April 22, 2018 | Last updated on April 22, 2018 at 11.28 pm
Mariska Nell and Marita Peters carried around the trash they generated each day in ‘waste suits’.
Mariska Nell and Marita Peters carried around the trash they generated each day in 'waste suits'.

The ladies developed a suit dress made of huge bags that they could wear, carrying every possible waste item.

Two ambitious Dubai expats completed a 30-day challenge on Sunday, showcasing the importance of sustainable living.

Inspired by Rob Greenfield, an environmentalist in New York who carried his trash around for 30 days, Mariska Nell and Marita Peters decided to do the 'Waste Me Not' campaign. For the campaign, which ran from Earth Hour on March 24 to Earth Day on April 22, the ladies developed a suit dress made of huge bags that they could wear, carrying every possible waste item they each accumulated over the month.

Throughout the 30 days, Mariska and Marita had two opposing agendas, to raise awareness on our waste consumption levels, bet-ween sustainably conscious and unconscious individuals.

Mariska lived like the average global citizen, collecting food and packaged waste every day. Marita, on the other hand, worked to be a  sustainably awakened citizen, doing minimal shopping and cooking at home. They wore these 'suits'  daily, with all the waste attached. Yes, that meant doing the school run, grocery shopping, dinners with friends or family, and even going to the bathroom. wearing their suits every waking hour!

Food waste was weighed separately and the equivalent weight added to the suit. All packaging, whether plastic, glass, paper or metal filled the suits immediately after they were used. By the end of the month, Mariska had not only 65kg of waste but also gained a personal weight of 3kg. Her weekly trips to the physio and massage therapy rounded up to approximately Dh1,000 in total, due to the physical exertion from the suit's weight, and eating take-away added around Dh500 weekly to her shopping bill. Marita, in comparison, carried just 4.5kg by Earth Day with no weight gain, and no excess in physio or therapy. In fact, she saved around Dh400 by home cooking and consciously avoiding waste every day.

Mariska said: "The challenge emphasised why paying attention to waste is so important. People stopped us on the street and told us about how they have made the change in their lives. One lady, after 6 years of using bottled water in Dubai, installed a water filter at home." Marita said: "The challenge doesn't stop here. It proved that reducing waste can be done if you put your mind to it." The two ladies are now looking for galleries in the region to exhibit their waste suits, as a symbol of sustainable and conscious living worldwide.

crystal@khaleejtimes.com


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