Use-and-throw culture

THAT Dubai Municipality is going to introduce high-tech waste collection system is welcome news. The new project plans to introduce a novel method of underground waste collection on a trial basis soon, though no time frame has been specified.

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Published: Mon 4 Aug 2008, 12:07 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 3:54 PM

It is hoped that the unsightly movable garbage containers that at present dot the otherwise gleaming Dubai will be a thing of the past.

It is easy to ignore the seamy side of a city when you are busy craning your neck to catch a glimpse of the glass-clad skyscrapers glinting in the sun on Shaikh Zayed Road. But it is not uncommon to spot overflowing garbage containers in the older and less fashionable parts of Dubai.

A garbage bin reveals the underbelly of a city. If what a community consumes reflects its level of civilisation, what and how much it tosses into the garbage bin tells its own story about its culture.

Going by this yardstick, we are guilty of perpetuating the use-and-throw culture. Spawned by mindless consumerism, it is the malaise of our time.

While efficient handling of garbage speaks positively of the way a community and a country is run, how much garbage it generates is an eloquent testimony to indiscriminate waste. We in the UAE have earned the dubious distinction of being one of the highest garbage generators in the world. Considering the fact that the UAE has limited natural resources, shouldn't we be generating less waste? Shouldn't we be using resources, natural or otherwise more responsibly?

'Want not, waste not' is an old adage, but it has not lost its relevance. If anything, it is more relevant today than ever. With spiralling inflation and environmental concerns like climate change, curbing consumerism has gained immediacy and urgency. Maybe it is time for adopting old-fashioned ways. It is time to bring back into vogue reusable bags and do away with fancy packaging. And this time round, not as a fad that fades away, but as a habit and a way of life. This, coupled with an efficient method of recycling and waste management, will go a long way in reducing garbage.

Maybe before we discard a bag or a box, we need to pause and think if it can be put to use.

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