In honour of World Environment Day and World Oceans Day falling within the same week, we take a look at five initiatives currently happening around the UAE to stop plastic pollution.
Run for the Oceans
Adidas and Parley have teamed up to raise awareness of the threat of marine plastic pollution. 'Run for the Oceans' is set to take place on June 22 at Kite Beach in Dubai. For every kilometre run, Adidas will donate US$1 to the Parley Ocean Plastic Program with a focus on their ocean education initiative. It's even more timely after the viral news that a pilot whale died in Thailand this week after eating more than 80 plastic bags. The run's goal is to educate and raise awareness among the next generation to protect the waters. To sign up, go to Adidas.com/parley
Planet or Plastic? global campaign
National Geographic Abu Dhabi has announced the launch of its global Planet or Plastic? initiative to raise awareness of plastic pollution. An estimated nine million tonnes of plastic waste ends up in the ocean, with some estimates suggesting it could remain in marine environments for 450 years or longer before breaking down.
The organisation-wide effort will include a major research and scientific initiative; a consumer education and engagement campaign, as well as partnerships with like-minded corporations and non-government organisations (NGOs) from all over the world. The campaign was launched on World Environment Day (June 5) with the hopes of potentially saving the lives of millions of marine animals who suffer from plastic found in the ocean.
Getting rid of plastic bags
UK supermarket chain Waitrose has recently announced a new trial initiative after partnering with the Emirates Wildlife Society — WWF. From June 16 to September 8, Waitrose will be implementing a 12-week trial charge of 0.25 fils per plastic bag used, in the hopes that customers will bring their own reusable bags or use the in-store bag exchange which will allow customers to deposit any used bags for others to use.
There will be five stores participating in Abu Dhabi: Waitrose Etihad Towers, Waitrose Sun and Sky Reem Island, Waitrose Al Zeina, Waitrose Saadiyat Beach Community and Waitrose Eastern Mangroves.
Banning of straws
Single use plastic straws are a huge issue right now, as many get dumped into the oceans. However, a recent positive trend that’s emerged is seeing many restaurants ditch them — including in the UAE.
Freedom Pizza was an early adapter of the trend but other restaurants have since picked up on it as well including Coya, The Royal Orchid, Gates Hospitality group (which include Bistro Des Arts, folly by Nick & Scott, Publique, Reform Social & Grill, The Black Lion, Ultra Brasserie and Via Veneto) and more.
Basta in Business Bay has even gone an extra step and introduced pasta straws for guests to use.
Hotels ridding themselves of plastic
Nikki Beach Resort & Spa Dubai is currently getting rid of straws too, but this is only the start. The hotel will now use"bio-pla" straws, made of polylactic acid (PLA) or cornstarch. They are 100 per cent certified biodegradable. The hotel was now looking at also getting removing takeaway containers for all their dining venues, and introducing more eco-friendly options. The hotel says it's a move towards more sustainable practises for them as a brand, as their properties around the world are near the beach or sea, which means they felt very connected to nature. The new initiatives would extend to the resort's five food and beverage venues, including the Beach Club. Earlier this year, the Hilton group in the UAE announced it would ban all use of plastic straws by the end of the year in its hotels to join the growing campaign against plastic pollution.