Volunteers remove half a tonne of waste from Sharjah’s Al Majaz Waterfront

More than 40 divers take part in Sharjah Museums Authority’s annual clean-up

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Volunteers removed hundreds of kilograms of waste from Sharjah’s Al Majaz Waterfront on Saturday morning.

About 40 divers from Emirates Diving Centre, assisted by local government and private entities, fished out 580kg of rubbish from the water including tyres and plastic products.

“The 12th edition of our marine clean-up is part of Sharjah Museums Authority’s social responsibility initiative ‘Because We Care’,” said Rashid Al Shamsi, curator of Sharjah Aquarium.

He said the clean-up was carried out with help from waste management company Beeah, Sharjah Municipality, Sharjah Police, and the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, among others.

The campaign is aimed at teaching people about the problems caused by littering and to help create a community of environmentally conscious individuals.

“We have more than 45 children from centres under the Sharjah department of children centres taking part this year,” Mr Al Shamsi said.

“They will be the target audience of a lecture by the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment that highlights the importance of preserving marine life.

“Our aim is to turn this practice into a lifestyle as they grow up.”

He said next year's event will revisit all locations the scheme has been to in previous years.

"This is to compare if the amount of waste has decreased in these areas, which will at that point prove that the public's awareness about the topic has increased," he said.

Each year the campaign removes large amounts of waste from the emirate’s beaches and waters.

So far it has removed more than 14 tonnes of litter and rubbish, including chairs, metal items, fishing tools, cans, plastic bottles, bicycles and pipes.

Sharjah Museums Authority oversees 16 museums across the emirate that cover Islamic art and culture, archaeology, heritage, science and marine life, as well as the history of Sharjah and the region.

The annual clean-up is part of a social responsibility scheme that the authority first launched in 2009.

Public waste discarded in the seas is posing an ever-increasing threat to marine life.

A study released last year revealed that more than half of the turtles found dead on the east coast of Sharjah had eaten marine debris, such as netting or pieces of plastic.

One turtle had more than 150 pieces of debris in its body, while another had numerous punctures in the digestive tract.

Researchers at the Environment and Protected Areas Authority of Sharjah said the public can help to combat the problem by cutting down on the number of plastic bags and other disposable items they use.

Another study by the American University of Sharjah (AUS) found that oyster beds off the UAE coast contain elevated concentrations of microplastics.

Updated: November 12, 2022, 11:30 AM
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