Up to three tonnes of waste collected in Abu Dhabi clean-up

Broken bicycles and bits of carpet were among up to three tonnes of rubbish collected as a part of a clean-up effort in Abu Dhabi.

Young volunteers help to keep Abu Dhabi green and clean by removing rubbish from the Emirates Heritage Club in Al Samha yesterday as part of the annual Clean Up UAE campaign. Similar efforts were also taking place at Mussaffah, Al Bateen, Zafranah and Al Wathba. Lee Hoagland / The National
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Broken bicycles and bits of carpet were among up to three tonnes of rubbish collected as a part of a clean-up effort in Abu Dhabi.

Thousands of volunteers took part in the annual Clean Up UAE event, organised by the Emirates Environmental Group (EEG), which takes place across all seven emirates over a week.

The initiative was launched in the capital on Wednesday and ends in Dubai on December 12, by which time more than 45,000 people are expected to have taken part.

The campaign, in its 12th year, started in five areas of the capital – Al Samha, Mussaffah, Al Bateen, Zafranah and Al Wathba.

“It was a beautiful day,” said Habiba Al Marashi, chairperson of EEG. “Nature was kind to us, the weather was beautiful.

“It was also great to have the support of Abu Dhabi Municipality and other organisations. We had many private companies and schools taking part. There was a celebratory mood.”

Amid the cheerful atmosphere, volunteers collected about 700 kilograms of waste in a 5-square- kilometre area of Al Samha, near the Emirates Heritage Club.

“Combined with the other sites, we removed between two and a half and three tonnes of waste,” Mrs Al Marashi said.

Much of the debris was glass or plastic, but broken bicycles, vacuum cleaners, pieces of carpet and petrol cans were also found.

For the youngest volunteers, the clean-up was educational, such as when some young children collected dry tree branches.

“We explained to them that these belonged to nature and that it was only the synthetic materials we were after,” Mrs Al Marashi said.

The first clean-up event in December 2002 included only Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah and Ajman, with only a handful of volunteers taking part.

Mrs Al Marashi expects thousands of participants this year.

“I know more people will come after they read the reports from our Abu Dhabi event,” she said.

The clean-up continues on December 8 in Maleha, Sharjah. A day later, the campaign moves to Ajman and to Ras Al Khaimah on December 11.

Volunteers will clean the vicinity of Nad Al Sheba in Dubai and along Al Ain’s Airport Road on December 12. Smaller events in Umm Al Quwain and Fujairah are also planned.

Companies and individuals interested in taking part can register at www.eeg-uae.org.