Footballers go for goal on energy use

The Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi launched the latest installment of its energy conservation campaign Turn it Off. Related: Don't bathe government tells airport visitors

ABU DHABI // Three Al Wahda Football Club players helped kick off a campaign yesterday encouraging residents to be more responsible in how they use energy.

The Turn It Off campaign, an initiative of the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD), will be at Al Wahda Mall until the end of April. It then moves on to the first of eight other malls in the capital.

In addition to signing footballs, the strikers Ismail Matar and Abdulraheem Juma, and defender Hamdan al Kamali passed on advice to their young fans, urging them to turn off their PlayStations when they are not using them.

"The country's carbon emissions rose by seven per cent over the past three years," said Eduardo Goncalves, director of the environment awareness sector at EAD. "How much of this was due to unnecessary consumption, such as forgetting to turn off lights?"

The UAE is one of the largest per capita emitters of greenhouse gases in the world. According to the EAD, if all Abu Dhabi residents set their air conditioning just 1?C warmer in summer, the reduction in greenhouse emissions would be equivalent to taking 100,000 cars off the road for a year.

And if everyone in the UAE turned off a light in their home for one hour a day for the next year, it would prevent the release of 700 tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere - the equivalent of taking 400 cars off the road.

Turning off lights and appliances when they are not in use is one of the easiest steps to take in reducing carbon emissions, said Mr Goncalves.

"These are all small things but when you add them up, it ends up being a lot," he said. "We are giving people the tool to do something every day in their lives."

EAD launched a previous Turn It Off campaign at Abu Dhabi International Airport in October last year that focused on water use.