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Dubai college aims to become zero-waste campus

Zero-waste campaign to kick off on November 29 to achieve a zero-waste campus by May 2017

Gulf News


A college in Dubai has decided to go all out against garbage to achieve a zero-waste campus.

The American College of Dubai (ACD) will kick off their long-term programme on November 29 to become a zero-waste campus where they will reduce and recycle their waste and eventually make sure nothing goes to the landfills.

“We came to know that the UAE is deciding to reduce the landfills in Dubai and in the UAE. I invited a friend who started the garbage-free India campaign. That’s where we got the idea to start a zero-waste campus,” Mona Sharma, Dean of Student Services at ACD, told Gulf News.

Dubai aims to become a zero-waste city by 2030 through a number of strategies including segregation at source.

In 2015, the emirate produced 14.4 million metric tonnes of waste according to the Dubai Statistics Centre. The daily garbage output for 2014 is estimated to be around 2.3kg per person, which is almost double the rate in the Indian city of Chennai, which has four times as many people.

Sharma said ACD will conduct the zero-waste campaign in stages. The first stage will be building awareness on the importance of minimising waste and segregation.

The college, which has 800 students, produces two bins with roughly 10kg of waste per day. This is composed of around 4kg of paper, 3kg of plastic, and “some food waste”. All cans that the college collects regularly go to the Can Collection Drive of the Emirates Environmental Group.

Sharma said they have started contacting their alumni to help collect all recyclables from the campus. Food waste will be composted and turned into fertiliser that they would sell. And once the campaign is on, bottled water and plastic cups will be banned in the campus.

“We will have our own water points and students will have their own mugs,” Sharma said.

Ishrat Jahan, head of the student council, said the college aims to be completely zero-waste by the end of spring semester in May next year.

“The first challenge is awareness. We need to really make students aware and involved or else it won’t succeed,” said Jahan, 21, a finance major. “We’re in a community. We have to do something to give back to the community.”

Fizza Ahmad, 17, head of the community service club, said they will start with the student council first before influencing the rest of the studentry. “So long as they stay informed on their carbon footprint, and how they’re helping the environment, we’re sure they’ll want to participate, too.”

Sidra Ahmad, 19, student club coordinator, said after achieving a zero-waste campus next year, they aim to create a movement among all student campuses to help contribute to Dubai’s zero-waste goals.