Waste generated by the UAE will increase from 6.6 million tonnes to 8.4 million tonnes by 2017, according to a report released at Eco-Waste conference hosted by Masdar, the Abu Dhabi sustainable energy company.
As much as 29 million tonnes of rubbish will be generated, creating a waste management industry that potentially could be worth Dh6.2 billion by 2017, according to reports.
"These are alarming statistics and could only be tackled by raising awareness among the consumers," Sameera Fernandes, Head of Corporate Affairs at Al Ghurair Investment, said on the occasion of a consumer campaign held at Al Ghurair Centre on October 22-23, 2015.
"Government's statistics show that 13 million tonnes of waste were collected in Abu Dhabi in 2012, up from 9.6 million tonnes in 2009. Dubai, in comparison, has reduced from 21.8 million tonnes collected in 2009 to 9.6 million tonnes in 2012," she added.
Children and families were the focus of a fun-filled Waste Management initiative at two Dubai shopping malls as organisers set out to recruit young supporters and their parents to the war on waste. Al Ghurair Centre and Oasis Mall hosted the 'Act to Sustain' campaign on Thursday and Friday, October 22 and 23.
Directly targeting the community, an 'edutainment' programme of events was held on both evenings to raise public awareness of waste-related issues. A 'Recycling Game' taught participants how to separate recyclable from non-recyclable waste with the aid of a series of stress balls thrown into green and black bins.
Food waste, however, accounts for 55 per cent of all of Dubai waste, and each Ramadan the emirate disposes of 1,850 tonnes of food, which works out to almost a kilogram for each resident.
Dubai Municipality estimates the city recycles 25 per cent of its refuse, but it aims to increase this to 75 per cent by 2021. Public-private partnerships will play a crucial role in meeting this aim.
"Perhaps the municipality's best example of this partnership is the My City, My Environment campaign, which expanded its scope in May," Ms Sameera Fernandes says. The programme, which now serves 15 communities, has seen private companies tender contracts to provide and manage segregated rubbish bins for homes across Dubai."
Other activities included a 'Rapid Fire Quiz' on waste management topics and, for younger children, a 'Colouring Zone' with crayons introduced them to waste-management and recycling in a fun-friendly way. The two-day initiative was supported by retail outlets within Al Ghurair Centre and Oasis Mall who provided volunteers to man the events.
Corporate supporters Dulsco and Cummins helped organize the games and activities, providing materials and prizes - and enticing participants by exchanging plastic bags for recycled bags. Visitors were encouraged to spread the 'anti-waste' message by taking photos of a specially-installed Instagram Frame and promoting it on social media.
The 'Act to Sustain' Campaign was part of the Dubai Chamber Sustainability Week 2015 which also marked the organisation's 50th anniversary. Organised by the Chamber's Centre for Responsible Business, the theme of this year's event was 'Our World - Our Responsibility.'
"As one of the Chamber's founding members and leader of its Waste Management & Resource Efficiency Task Group, we were delighted to host the 'Act to Sustain' initiative at Al Ghurair Centre", said Sameera Fernandes added.
"We are always looking to directly engage the community in anti-waste measures. In particular we need to get the sustainability message across to children and families - and edutainment activities provide a great means of communicating a serious topic in a fun way."