Environmentalists would like to see more recycling plants in the UAE and for people to change to using filters in their homes and businesses. Silvia Razgova / The National
Environmentalists would like to see more recycling plants in the UAE and for people to change to using filters in their homes and businesses. Silvia Razgova / The National

Move to bottle-free UAE gathers pace as awareness of alternatives grows



DUBAI // It’s safe to say that the UAE has a dependence on bottled water.

With each resident drinking an average of 250 litres a year, the country is believed to have one of the highest rates of bottled water consumption in the world. A by-product of such thirst is the growing mountain of plastic bottles it creates.

EcoMena Waste Management, a Qatar-based company that tracks waste management issues in the Middle East and North Africa, goes as far as to claim that the UAE has the fourth-highest level of bottled water consumption in the world. Couple that with the lack of recycling facilities in the country – there are plants in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah – this means that only a small amount of the plastic used is recycled.

Briton Rukhsana Kausar, who has lived in the UAE for nine years, is passionate about trying to change the country’s reliance on bottled water. The environmentalist founded Liquid of Life Dubai, a provider of water filtration products for commercial and domestic use. Among its clients are Etihad Airways and Sharjah English School.

At Etihad Airways, across the carrier’s headquarters, training academy and offices in Dubai and Al Ain, between 2015 and last year employees consumed 461,502 litres of filtered water. This was the equivalent of 23,667 five-gallon (22.7 litre) plastic bottles. By using filtration systems its carbon footprint was reduced by 47.3 tonnes.

“We live in the desert so we need to stay hydrated, but we’re dependent on bottled water,” said Ms Kausar. “When you talk about the environment you can tell people to switch off lights, use recycled paper, there are a lot of things you can do. But when it comes to drinking water, you can’t tell people to stop drinking. So it’s about trying to find an alternative that’s better for the environment and our health.”

Elena Kinane founded the Dubai-based Greenheart Organic Farms, a business that harvests produce fresh each morning and only the amount needed.

As a long-time advocate of bottle-free living, she put filters in her home nine years ago, and in her business too.

She said there was a growing awareness in the UAE of the environmental benefits of changing habits, from going bottle-free to buying organic produce.

“Unquestionably, people are gradually becoming more aware,” Ms Kinane said.

“Many of our customers ask us about how they can improve the quality of their drinking water and we have shared our experience of Liquid of Life with them.

“But there is still a long way to go to spread the word in the UAE.”

Lucy Bruce is the co-founder of Home Grown Eco Nursery, which has been bottle-free since opening six years ago. “For every business decision we make we consider the effect we are having on the local and global environment,” Ms Bruce said.

“Drinking water is one of the major causes of increased carbon emissions in the UAE.”

The effect on health was also an issue.

“There are many health benefits for our children associated with using filtered water,” Ms Bruce said.

“The most significant for us is that it removes most traces of chlorine, lead and other harmful elements that can be found in tap water, not least BPA (bisphenol A).”

The nursery’s decision to be bottle-free was taken from an environmental and health standpoint, but it has also had financial benefits. Collectively, children and staff at the nursery consume about 80 litres a day, which means the financial savings are not to be ignored.

“We have calculated that we save almost Dh20,000 a year by using filtered water instead of bottled-water dispensers,” said Ms Bruce.

Bisphenol A is a chemical found in some of the plastic used to make water bottles, as well as in the lining of tinned foods.

The United States Food and Drug Administration recently banned its use in baby bottles, while Japan and Canada forbid its use completely.

mswan@thenational.ae

Sting & Shaggy

44/876

(Interscope)

Result

UAE (S. Tagliabue 90+1') 1-2 Uzbekistan (Shokhruz Norkhonov 48', 86')

ABU DHABI ORDER OF PLAY

Starting at 10am:

Daria Kasatkina v Qiang Wang

Veronika Kudermetova v Annet Kontaveit (10)

Maria Sakkari (9) v Anastasia Potapova

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova v Ons Jabeur (15)

Donna Vekic (16) v Bernarda Pera 

Ekaterina Alexandrova v Zarina Diyas

Fund-raising tips for start-ups

Develop an innovative business concept

Have the ability to differentiate yourself from competitors

Put in place a business continuity plan after Covid-19

Prepare for the worst-case scenario (further lockdowns, long wait for a vaccine, etc.) 

Have enough cash to stay afloat for the next 12 to 18 months

Be creative and innovative to reduce expenses

Be prepared to use Covid-19 as an opportunity for your business

* Tips from Jassim Al Marzooqi and Walid Hanna

COMPANY PROFILE

Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside

Founders: Abdulmajeed Alsukhan, Turki Bin Zarah and Abdulmohsen Albabtain.

Based: Riyadh

Offices: UAE, Vietnam and Germany

Founded: September, 2020

Number of employees: 70

Sector: FinTech, online payment solutions

Funding to date: $116m in two funding rounds  

Investors: Checkout.com, Impact46, Vision Ventures, Wealth Well, Seedra, Khwarizmi, Hala Ventures, Nama Ventures and family offices

'Outclassed in Kuwait'
Taleb Alrefai, 
HBKU Press 

Kill

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

Our legal columnist

Name: Yousef Al Bahar

Advocate at Al Bahar & Associate Advocates and Legal Consultants, established in 1994

Education: Mr Al Bahar was born in 1979 and graduated in 2008 from the Judicial Institute. He took after his father, who was one of the first Emirati lawyers

UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024

Equestrian
Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).


Judo
Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).


Cycling
Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).

Swimming
Men: Yousef Rashid Al Matroushi (100m freestyle); women: Maha Abdullah Al Shehi (200m freestyle).

Athletics
Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).

Pots for the Asian Qualifiers

Pot 1: Iran, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, China
Pot 2: Iraq, Uzbekistan, Syria, Oman, Lebanon, Kyrgyz Republic, Vietnam, Jordan
Pot 3: Palestine, India, Bahrain, Thailand, Tajikistan, North Korea, Chinese Taipei, Philippines
Pot 4: Turkmenistan, Myanmar, Hong Kong, Yemen, Afghanistan, Maldives, Kuwait, Malaysia
Pot 5: Indonesia, Singapore, Nepal, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Mongolia, Guam, Macau/Sri Lanka

UAE squad

Men's draw: Victor Scvortov and Khalifa Al Hosani, (both 73 kilograms), Sergiu Toma and Mihail Marchitan (90kg), Ivan Remarenco (100kg), Ahmed Al Naqbi (60kg), Musabah Al Shamsi and Ahmed Al Hosani (66kg)

Women’s draw: Maitha Al Neyadi (57kg)

Company Profile

Name: Direct Debit System
Started: Sept 2017
Based: UAE with a subsidiary in the UK
Industry: FinTech
Funding: Undisclosed
Investors: Elaine Jones
Number of employees: 8

Why it pays to compare

A comparison of sending Dh20,000 from the UAE using two different routes at the same time - the first direct from a UAE bank to a bank in Germany, and the second from the same UAE bank via an online platform to Germany - found key differences in cost and speed. The transfers were both initiated on January 30.

Route 1: bank transfer

The UAE bank charged Dh152.25 for the Dh20,000 transfer. On top of that, their exchange rate margin added a difference of around Dh415, compared with the mid-market rate.

Total cost: Dh567.25 - around 2.9 per cent of the total amount

Total received: €4,670.30 

Route 2: online platform

The UAE bank’s charge for sending Dh20,000 to a UK dirham-denominated account was Dh2.10. The exchange rate margin cost was Dh60, plus a Dh12 fee.

Total cost: Dh74.10, around 0.4 per cent of the transaction

Total received: €4,756

The UAE bank transfer was far quicker – around two to three working days, while the online platform took around four to five days, but was considerably cheaper. In the online platform transfer, the funds were also exposed to currency risk during the period it took for them to arrive.

How to get there

Emirates (www.emirates.com) flies directly to Hanoi, Vietnam, with fares starting from around Dh2,725 return, while Etihad (www.etihad.com) fares cost about Dh2,213 return with a stop. Chuong is 25 kilometres south of Hanoi.
 

Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace

Developer: Big Ape Productions
Publisher: LucasArts
Consoles: PC, PlayStation
Rating: 2/5

Results

ATP Dubai Championships on Monday (x indicates seed):

First round
Roger Federer (SUI x2) bt Philipp Kohlschreiber (GER) 6-4, 3-6, 6-1
Fernando Verdasco (ESP) bt Thomas Fabbiano (ITA) 3-6, 6-3, 6-2
Marton Fucsovics (HUN) bt Damir Dzumhur (BIH) 6-1, 7-6 (7/5)
Nikoloz Basilashvili (GEO) bt Karen Khachanov (RUS x4) 6-4, 6-1
Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) bt Milos Raonic (CAN x7) 6-4, 5-7, 6-4

A QUIET PLACE

Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Joseph Quinn, Djimon Hounsou

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Rating: 4/5

Bullet Train

Director: David Leitch
Stars: Brad Pitt, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Brian Tyree Henry, Sandra Bullock
Rating: 3/5

UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets
While you're here ...

Damien McElroy: What happens to Brexit?

Con Coughlin: Could the virus break the EU?

Andrea Matteo Fontana: Europe to emerge stronger

Our legal columnist

Name: Yousef Al Bahar

Advocate at Al Bahar & Associate Advocates and Legal Consultants, established in 1994

Education: Mr Al Bahar was born in 1979 and graduated in 2008 from the Judicial Institute. He took after his father, who was one of the first Emirati lawyers

Confirmed bouts (more to be added)

Cory Sandhagen v Umar Nurmagomedov
Nick Diaz v Vicente Luque
Michael Chiesa v Tony Ferguson
Deiveson Figueiredo v Marlon Vera
Mackenzie Dern v Loopy Godinez

Tickets for the August 3 Fight Night, held in partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi, went on sale earlier this month, through www.etihadarena.ae and www.ticketmaster.ae.

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: SmartCrowd
Started: 2018
Founder: Siddiq Farid and Musfique Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech / PropTech
Initial investment: $650,000
Current number of staff: 35
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Various institutional investors and notable angel investors (500 MENA, Shurooq, Mada, Seedstar, Tricap)

Sarfira

Director: Sudha Kongara Prasad

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Madan, Paresh Rawal

Rating: 2/5

ROUTE TO TITLE

Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
Round 3: Beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2

Tips for taking the metro

- set out well ahead of time

- make sure you have at least Dh15 on you Nol card, as there could be big queues for top-up machines

- enter the right cabin. The train may be too busy to move between carriages once you're on

- don't carry too much luggage and tuck it under a seat to make room for fellow passengers

SPECS

Engine: 1.5-litre turbo

Power: 181hp

Torque: 230Nm

Transmission: 6-speed automatic

Starting price: Dh79,000

On sale: Now

The specs

Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cyl turbo

Power: 201hp at 5,200rpm

Torque: 320Nm at 1,750-4,000rpm

Transmission: 6-speed auto

Fuel consumption: 8.7L/100km

Price: Dh133,900

On sale: now

The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat

The currency conundrum

Russ Mould, investment director at online trading platform AJ Bell, says almost every major currency has challenges right now. “The US has a huge budget deficit, the euro faces political friction and poor growth, sterling is bogged down by Brexit, China’s renminbi is hit by debt fears while slowing Chinese growth is hurting commodity exporters like Australia and Canada.”

Most countries now actively want a weak currency to make their exports more competitive. “China seems happy to let the renminbi drift lower, the Swiss are still running quantitative easing at full tilt and central bankers everywhere are actively talking down their currencies or offering only limited support," says Mr Mould.

This is a race to the bottom, and everybody wants to be a winner.

How to help

Send “thenational” to the following numbers or call the hotline on: 0502955999
2289 – Dh10
2252 – Dh 50
6025 – Dh20
6027 – Dh 100
6026 – Dh 200

Match info

Premier League

Manchester United 2 (Martial 30', Lingard 69')
Arsenal 2 (Mustafi 26', Rojo 68' OG)