UAE Tackles Plastic Waste Threat to Ecosystems

UAE Tackles Plastic Waste Threat to Ecosystems


Against the backdrop of news about the rescue of a protected humpback whale Stanislav in the Murmansk region from the shackles of a fishing net that dug into its flesh and inflicted serious wounds, the question of how to combat garbage in the World Ocean is becoming increasingly acute in the world. Non-degradable waste products of human life, primarily plastic, cause irreparable damage to nature and to humans themselves.

Plastic Waste: A Global Threat

According to scientists, plastic waste has become one of the major threats to ecosystems due to its negative impact on soil and agricultural crops, and it has also played a role in the disappearance of millions of terrestrial and marine species. The Swiss non-profit organization EA-Earth Action, an analytical platform that collects data on the harm of plastic, has calculated that in 2024, 220 million tons of plastic waste will be produced worldwide. At the same time, as you know,more than 90% of such waste is not used as a secondary raw material due to its illiquidity or the lack of a sorting and processing system.

UAE Initiatives to Reduce Plastic Waste

In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a campaign to reduce plastic use was launched in 2020. The Abu Dhabi Environment Agency (EAD) called for a reduction in the use of single-use plastic and non-plastic materials and advocated for the introduction of a culture of reuse and recycling, as well as the use of reusable alternatives with less environmental impact.

As the agency emphasized, plastic waste has a significant impact on marine life, as it is eaten by marine creatures, or ocean dwellers often get entangled in plastic waste. In addition, as a result of the decomposition of plastic in seawater,toxic chemicals are formed that have a negative impact on human health due to the pollution of seafood. The biggest problem is single-use plastic bags, bottles and dishes, which are preserved for a long time in the form of various types of waste in the marine and terrestrial environment. These plastics break down into tiny particles known as microplastics (pieces less than 5 mm in size), which enter the human body primarily through food, as well as through breathing or contact with the skin.

EAD's "Mission to Zero" Initiative

In 2022, the agency implemented several campaigns to enforce the ban on plastic materials, launching the public campaign "Mission to Zero Initiative for Single-Use Plastic" to achieve zero waste from single-use plastic and zero carbon emissions without a significant impact on biodiversity. The campaign was aimed at encouraging Abu Dhabi residents to switch to sustainable and environmentally friendly alternatives, such as reusable materials, and thereby reduce their dependence on single-use items and minimize waste.

Expert Opinion: Plastic Waste - A Serious Threat

According to environmentalist and environmental expert Imad Saad, plastic has become an integral part of our daily lives,it has irreplaceable advantages, but also many negative aspects that need to be addressed. “Plastic waste is one of the most dangerous pollutants on Earth because most plastics are not biodegradable and cannot be recycled,” he said. - "This is the main cause of death for many terrestrial mammals and livestock, such as camels, cows and sheep." For example,according to the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, up to 50% of camel deaths in the UAE are caused by plastic bags.

Overall, the issue of plastic waste pollution is a serious one that requires global attention and action. The UAE is taking steps to address the problem, but more needs to be done to reduce our reliance on plastic and protect our environment.

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