UAE removes 4,700KG of MARINE LITTER

27 January 2019

Lab Chat

In the latest (and biggest) marine clean-up effort organised by the ‘Together We Make a Difference’ campaign, volunteers have removed a total of 4,700kg of litter from the waters surrounding Al Mirfa port in Abu Dhabi. The drive was part of a project aimed at raising awareness over the importance of maintaining a safe and clean natural environment and was scheduled to coincide with the Year of Zayed.

While the future of cleaning up our oceans and waterways may rely on automated floating rubbish collectors or other forward-thinking technologies, the importance of manpower cannot be currently underestimated. Fortunately, a team of 155 volunteers turned out to make this eighth and final clean-up effort the most successful one of the year.

Finishing on a high

The ‘Together We Make a Difference’ campaign got underway in January 2018, when 50 professional divers from various different UAE organisations spent four hours collecting almost a tonne (957kg) of waste from the waters surrounding Mina Zayed, near Fisherman’s Wharf.

While that seemed like an impressive total at the time, it was dwarfed by the 1,490kg collected at the second attempt in April. Again, a team of 50 divers came together to undertake the initiative at the Corniche area near Abu Dhabi. Several other clean-up operations followed throughout the year, culminating in last month’s record-breaking event.

155 volunteers united this time around, including 88 professional divers. Cumulatively, the team removed 3,400kg of abandoned fishing nets – the desertion of which is illegal – from the waters, along with 1,300kg of other refuse from the ocean floor. That staggering total is almost five times the amount collected at January’s drive and three times the April figure.

Setting an example

The drive was a collaborative effort between several different organisations from the UAE, including Al Mirfa Port, the Critical Infrastructure and Coastal Protection Authority (CICPA), the Centre of Waste Management, the Emirates Diving Association, the Al Dhafra Region Municipality, the New Medical Centre hospital (NMC) and West Coast Company LLC.

“Preventing marine pollution is the first step in promoting the protection and sustainable management of our local marine ecosystems, as well as human health,” explained Ahmad al Hashemi, executive director of the Environment Agency.

“It is important that we keep our waters clean to ensure that Abu Dhabi’s threatened species, including our turtles, dugongs and dolphins continue to thrive in these waters. I would like to thank all our partners who supported this initiative, which builds on our founding father’s legacy of environmental protection and preservation.”

Given that 55% of the Earth's waters are currently subject to fishing from commercial fisheries, the ‘Together We Make a Difference’ campaign was instrumental in raising awareness about improper disposal of fishing supplies – not only in the UAE, but all over the world.

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