Abu Dhabi: An Emirati has stopped using plastic bags soon after coming back from an expedition to Antarctica.
"I had been thinking of abandoning plastic bags following a Gulf News report on plastic bags causing death of camels. The presentations made by the climate change experts who showed how plastic bags were killing marine creatures, reminded me of the death of camels in the deserts and prompted me to take a decision," Taryam Al Subeihi, corporate communications manager of Etihad Airways, told Gulf News on Saturday.
He was a speaker at the first TEDxAbuDhabiU, a conference designed to enable educational institutes and businesses to discuss "ideas worth spreading".
TEDxAbuDhabiU was part of TED, a global set of conferences formed to bring together people with backgrounds in technology, entertainment and design to share world-changing ideas with the public.
Al Subeihi, who is also the environment ambassador of Etihad, spoke to Gulf News on the sidelines of the conference.
He and his family stopped using plastic bags when he came back from Antarctica on March 21 and started recycling plastic and paper used at home. "We have to dare to do small things to make changes, especially to reduce the high carbon and water foot print in the UAE," Al Subeihi said.
Asked about awareness of UAE residents on environmental issues, he said: "Although Emiratis are passionate about conserving nature, the level of awareness about how to implement eco-friendly measures in daily life is not satisfactory." Such an awareness should grow from childhood, he said.
He and his colleague, Ali Al Shamsi, who accompanied him on the Antarctica expedition are planning an awareness campaign in Abu Dhabi schools. "We are discussing it with Abu Dhabi Education Council which has responded positively," he said.
Jonathan Ali Khan, a natural history and underwater filmmaker, told the conference the UAE could lead efforts to save sharks which face extinction having been under threat for the past 60 years, he said.
Sumayyah Al Suwaidi, an Emirati digital artist, said her determination to study her favourite academic disciplines [graphic designing and communication technology] helped her to become a successful artist.
Aida Al Bu Saidi, planning, internal and online manager at Masdar, explained the activities of her group which tries to reduce the unemployment rate in the Arab world.
Inspiring individuals met in Ajman on Saturday as part of TEDx Ajman. Speakers included Shaikh Abdul Aziz Al Nuaimi, environmental adviser to the Ajman Government, Qais Sedki, founder of Pageflip Publishing, a Dubai-based publishing house that received the Shaikh Zayed Book Award in 2010 in the Children's literature category, Abdullah Al Ka'abi, Emirati film director, Anas Bukhash, managing partner at Ahdaaf sports club, Ali Al Saloom, Emirati cultural adviser, and Jalal Bin Theniyah.