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Record number of schools and volunteers clean up Al Mamzar Beach during Waste Free Environment campaign

Dubai, United Arab Emirates; February 26, 2015: Around 17 schools and 800 volunteers participated in the Dubai leg of Waste Free Environment (WFE), the global environmental campaign, held today at Al Mamzar. Hosted by the Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA) and sponsored by Shell Chemicals and Lyondellbasell, the community-based initiative ran across 18 locations in 13 cities in the GCC, India and Europe, gathering volunteers to clean up beaches.

“I would like to thank GPCA for its constant efforts in the waste management sector, embodied with the ‘Waste Free Environment’ campaign which reflects GPCA’s commitment towards social and environmental responsibility”, said His Excellency Dr. Rashid Ahmed Bin Fahad, UAE Minister of Environment.

“The Ministry places great importance and focus on the waste management issue as one of the most pressing priorities in the UAE, given its economic, social, environmental and medical effects. The Ministry addresses this issue through two approaches, the first in limiting the generation of waste form the source, by organizing awareness programs that target families and individuals, or by regulations and developing a national regulatory framework for waste management. The second revolves around the reuse and recycling of waste as a national commitment and one of the major objectives of the national agenda of the UAE Vision 2021. We all hope that we can strengthen the cooperation between the public and private sector in that domain, and encourage private companies to play a more vital role in waste management in a way that exceeds corporate social responsibility initiatives.”

This year’s campaign marks the first instance that the WFE has gone beyond the Arabian Gulf, aiming to educate the public about responsible waste disposal and tackling challenges associated with plastic litter.

The Dubai edition of WFE was responsible waste collection from the shoreline of Al Mamzar Beach, with plastic waste earmarked for recycling courtesy of Tadweer, a leading provider of waste management and recycling services. Volunteers included 660 school children from schools like Raffles International School, JSS Private School and Home Grown Eco Nursery. Canadian University of Dubai (CUD) professor Dr. Rami El Khatib, a recognized expert in the field presented an awareness-raising session, which included a talk on the environment and the importance of recycling. In addition, the campaign hosted waste related entertainment activities and participants were awarded prizes courtesy of Bounce Middle East, Groupon Middle East and Hint Hunt Dubai.

Along with waste collection, education plays a crucial role in the campaign, which highlights the fact that plastic litter in marine and desert environments is largely due to irresponsible disposal combined with poor waste management, a lack of regulatory framework and insufficient recycling infrastructure.

“At its core, WFE is a campaign that revolves around education, as litter is fast becoming a pressing environmental issue that can only be solved if people are engaged in the 4 Rs – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Recover,” said Dr. Abdulwahab Al Sadoun, Secretary General, GPCA. “We are grateful for the participation of so many students, and are hopeful that these young minds make habits of the lessons learned today.”

The focal point of Waste Free Environment was the complacent attitudes towards waste disposal, which are tarnishing the image of plastics products, a major part of the region’s economy and both economically valuable and sustainable. As a signatory to the global “Declarations for Solutions on Marine Litter”, the GPCA actively collaborates with governments, non-governmental organizations and the general public on sustainable waste management solutions. The WFE is a key component to GPCA’s contribution to this declaration.

For more information on Waste Free Environment 2015, please visit http://wastefreeenvironment.com/

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