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Waste Free Environment campaign heads to Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Ruwais in the UAE

Dubai, United Arab Emirates; February 4, 2015: Waste Free Environment, the global wide environmental campaign, is set to host its UAE leg this month. Launched by the Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA), the community based campaign will invite students from schools and universities across the Emirates to clean up beaches in Abu Dhabi, Ruwais and Dubai, on February 23, 24 and 26, 2015, respectively.

Hosted by the GPCA in partnership with Shell and LyondellBasell, Dubai’s WFE event is supported by the country’s Ministry of Environment and will be inaugurated by His Excellency Dr. Rashid Ahmed Mohammed Bin Fahad, Minister for Water & Environment of the UAE. An estimated 500 students from local schools and universities will spend half a day cleaning up the shores of Al Mamzar Beach.

The beach clean-up in Abu Dhabi and Ruwais is being organised by Borouge and FERTIL, the petrochemical arms of ADNOC, and based on last year’s attendance over 1,500 participants are expected. Borouge is also organising a clean-up in Mumbai, India on 28 February 2015.

These events are part of 18 locations in thirteen cities across the GCC, Europe and India that are participating in the initiative, which aims to educate the public about responsible waste disposal and tackle challenges associated with plastic litter.

“As an industry involved with the production of plastic—a product that is often erroneously blamed for environmental problems—we feel it is essential to educate and engage with different groups about the persistent issues surrounding improper waste disposal,” said Dr. Abdulwahab Al- Sadoun, Secretary General, GPCA.

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 of plastic waste combined with poor waste management, a lack of regulatory framework and insufficient recycling infrastructure.

“Plastic forms an integral part of daily life, and is used in the automotive, aerospace and food packaging sectors so the solution to waste is not cutting the production of this vital product but in the reuse and recycle of its many applications,” explained Dr. Al Sadoun. “In the long term, we hope that initiatives like the WFE demonstrate that ultimately, litter is a behavioural problem: plastics do not litter; people do.”

Since the launch of the GCC campaign in 2013, the WFE has grown in size, participation and collection. The 2014 edition saw a record collection of 11 tons of waste from 5,512 participants from GPCA member companies, schools and local communities in nine GCC cities. Volunteers included students from 71 schools and universities, and included clean- up teams in beaches and waters as part of the day- long campaign.

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

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