Cleanliness drive launched in desert camping area

Deepa Narwani
Filed on March 5, 2011

DUBAI — The Dubai Municipality on Thursday launched the ‘Keep the Place Clean for Others to Enjoy It’ campaign on Al Warqa Street, a popular desert camping spot.

This initiative will go on till March 12 and is being organised by the Waste Management Department.

The campaign focuses on creating awareness among frequent visitors of desert areas for protecting the natural environment and to keep the areas safe and clean. Hussein Nasser Lootah, Director-General of the municipality, said: “Through this campaign, we are trying to send a message across to people to cooperate with us and work together with us to keep the environment clean. People leave rubbish behind after camping, so we are going to reach out to them and give them bags to collect the garbage. We have also put up a number of dustbins all around the area. The police, tourism department and schools are a part of this campaign.” No fine is being imposed in the area as this initiative aims at educating people. “We will make it an annual event,” he said.

The campaign illustrates the individual’s and the community’s responsibility towards environment cleanliness.

A number of cars had lined up early in the morning to be a part of this drive. It was inaugurated with a cake-cutting ceremony. School children performed a short skit on the topic. Children could also be seen collecting waste items and throwing them in bins.

“The weather conditions are good right now, so a lot of people come to the desert for picnic,” said Abdul Majid Sifaie, head of the Waste Management Department. “Our aim is to educate people in keeping the desert clean so that more people can enjoy it. The situation is not very bad but before it becomes worse, we want to create awareness.”

An exhibition tent showcased photographs of the harmful effects of leaving garbage in the desert. The images showed camels consuming waste and municipality workers picking up plastic bags from shrubs.

Hamda Al Murr, Public Awareness Officer and Head of Awareness Team, said, “Throughout the campaign, if we see a group of people, we will go to them and create awareness and ask them to dispose of the garbage in the bins. We are trying to encourage people by offering entertainment as well.”

A traditional market displaying traditional food items, a play yard and camel and horse rides are also a part of the campaign. Employees of the municipality are actively involved in this campaign. Venkat Subramanian, one of the volunteers, said, “I have been with the municipality for four years and I am very happy to be a part of this drive. I hope people follow up on this issue and are more careful so that there will be more greenery in the desert.”

The campaign is being held from 5pm to 10pm daily. The Al Warqa Street will be monitored by volunteers whereas other desert areas will be covered by officials.

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