Paddlers lead island clean-up campaign

Around 60 volunteers gathered at the breakwater in front of Marina Mall in Abu Dhabi to take part in the Paddle for the Planet event, a one day global relay event to raise environmental awareness.
Volunteers paddle out to Lulu Island to take part in a beach clean-up as part of the Paddle for the Planet initiative. Christopher Pike / The National
Volunteers paddle out to Lulu Island to take part in a beach clean-up as part of the Paddle for the Planet initiative. Christopher Pike / The National

ABU DHABI // Dozens of people braved the early morning heat and humidity yesterday to paddle from the breakwater in Abu Dhabi to Lulu Island to take part in a beach clean-up.

About 60 volunteers gathered in front of Marina Mall for Paddle for the Planet, a one-day global relay event to raise awareness about environmental issues.

In all about 50 kilograms of rubbish was collected, with 30 bags filled with everything from plastic cans, bottles and bags to bits of rope and old fishing nets. Most of the rubbish had been dumped along the island’s beach.

“This is the fifth year we have done this in Abu Dhabi,” said Alexandra Jonker, a member at the Abu Dhabi Stand-up Paddlers.

“We just want people to make their environment clean and green by the small effort of not throwing rubbish and leftovers on the beach because it badly affects the marine life. Beachgoers need to take their rubbish home.”

Abu Dhabi Stand-up Paddle Group organised the clean-up. Participation was free, but volunteers had to bring their own boards.

Adrian Nizzola, a 55-year-old from Australia, paddled over to Lulu Island beach to help in the clean-up drive.

“Mostly I found plastic bags, small bottles and nets. I wonder why people who come here for fun don’t take their stuff back and dump it at designated places? Instead they leave it here, which harms the environment.”

Rubbish, especially small bits of plastic, can kill marine life and birds, Mr Nizzola said.

When rubbish is washed into the sea, it is often swallowed by fish and other animals that die as a result, said Bincent Gayatagay. “Many old bottles are on the beach. People who come here for camping leave all their trash behind. See the colour of the shore and water here, it’s turned black but it should be green,” said the 38-year-old from the Philippines.

His compatriot Carlos June, 39, said the build-up of rubbish ruined the city’s beaches for everyone.

“Bottles, junk food cartons and plastic mar the beauty of the city. This is the first time I’ve taken part in a beach clean-up drive and found it very interesting. The weather was hot and humid and we enjoyed paddling out in the Dragon Boat for a good cause,” he said.

Another Philippine national, Faye Balbin, 31, enjoyed the day and didn’t mid the early start.

“This is first time for me too but it was lovely to take part in it and I woke up at 6.30am to reach this place.”

It’s not only beachgoers who are to blame for the pollution, however, much of the rubbish washes ashore from the nearby port.

“I believe most of the stuff accumulated here swept from Mina Port on to the corniche beaches, as only a handful of people come here,” said Nick Yates, 33, from Australia.

“But I have seen less trash here since last year. We come here regularly to clean the beach.”

anwar@thenational.ae

.

Nick Yates, 33, from Australia, said, “I believe most of the stuff accumulated here swept from Mina port and corniche beaches as a handful of people come here.”

“But I have experienced now less trash here since last year. We come here regularly and clean the beach, Mr Yates said.

Another Philippine national, Faye Balbin, 31 years old, said, “this is first time for me too but was lovely to take part in it and I woke up at 6.30am to reach the place.”

anwar@thenational.ae

Published: May 31, 2014 04:00 AM

SHARE

Editor's Picks
NEWSLETTERS
Sign up to:

* Please select one