The plastic waste causing pollution, claimed the Divers Down UAE’s “Padi course director”, Nicola Liddell, is the biggest and the single issue that threatens the environment of the UAE. Liddell finds plastic waste in the local shoreline is creating an environmental mayhem in the region.
Ms Liddell is actively involved in organising regular beach and shoreline clean-ups, whereby she reported that most of the trash thus found is made up of “bottles and bags”. In her words: “People are in the habit of taking the fast and easy option of just throwing out plastic bottles and bags and do not realise the damage it is causing. We are noticing an extraordinary increase in the levels of plastic bags and bottles.”
Agreeing to Liddell on the matter of plastic waste, the Operations’ Head at Arabian Adventures, a “desert safari company”, Simon Meade added: “We are working to limit waste and recycling at all our desert camps along with a new project to reduce the purchase of single-use plastic, which has led to a reduction of 59 per cent in the past 12 months”.
In fact, apart from plastic bags and bottles that gather in the hooks, fishing lines or sink at the water depth, the “disposable cutlery” was another source of nuisance to add to the plastic waste. While Liddell stated: “It is a question of education. We speak to children regularly and many of them are not even aware there is a problem. That seems incredible and is worrying, given there is a global push to educate people about the damage plastic is doing.”
Nevertheless, a recent drive of “sustainable tourism sector” in the Middle East has thrown the light on the issue, as Mr Meade commented: “Sustainability and ecotourism continue to be sought after by our customers because it is valued and adhered to at Arabian Adventures. Most of our safaris take place in the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, which is the biggest piece of land Dubai has dedicated to a single conservation project and led the way in boosting the population of the Arabian oryx.”
Thanks to the sustainable tourism drive, nature safari’s arranged by companies like Arabian Adventures, allows the tourists to see “Arabian oryx, sand gazelle and a variety of bird and reptile species”, added Mr Meade.