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It is alarming to note that many of the Bee’ah recycling bins placed in Sharjah are overflowing with a variety of unsegregated trash items and sometimes stale food, too. In the past few days, I have noticed this sight along Al Wahda Street and at Al Majaz Waterfront.

I often see rows of plastic bags filled with trash and half decomposed food items scattered all around the dustbins after a busy Friday evening at the Al Majaz Waterfront, where families enjoy the weekend and leave rubbish behind, with no concern about how difficult it would be for the municipal cleaners the next day, and no regard for the environmental impact of their actions. Noting there are rows of dustbins placed only a few metres away, nobody takes the effort to walk up to the next dustbin if the one closest to them is full.

This truly demonstrates the attitude of individuals towards their surroundings. They show a lack of cleanliness and lack of interest or awareness in keeping their surroundings clean. There is a dire need to educate people about the importance of cleanliness.

We pride ourselves for keeping our houses clean, yet we do not hesitate to dirty our surroundings with domestic refuse. It is mandatory to follow certain rules, like keeping our surroundings clean, avoiding littering in public places and refraining from spitting on the road.

Litter on roads, polluted water bodies and poor sanitation make excellent breeding grounds for pests and we all know that rats, mice, cockroaches, flies and mosquitoes spread germs.

Here are some efforts we can take:

• Inculcate the attitude of cleanliness and responsibility towards the surroundings in the younger generation and start with personal hygiene.

• Schools and other educational institutions should demonstrate cleanliness in school premises, involve students in cleaning activities and spread knowledge on the importance of cleanliness by adding it to the curriculum.

• Online media and newspapers are powerful platforms to spread awareness to the masses effectively.

— The reader is a pupil based in Sharjah.

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FACTBOX:

The reader’s concerns were raised with the management of Bee’ah, Sharjah’s waste management company.

They stated: “Firstly, Bee’ah would like to thank and commend the great sense of civic duty and commitment to raising issues related to the environmental and social impact of waste disposal, in the emirate of Sharjah.

“As rightly pointed out, the key issue to address in the battle against littering is to encourage a more eco-friendly approach and understanding among the general population. At Bee’ah, we do not just see waste disposal as a duty for our operational services, we see the challenge in terms of promoting ‘prevention’ as the cure. That is to say, there is a need to engage and encourage people to work together towards a cleaner environment and more conscientious society.

“To this end, Bee’ah has an Awareness and Education Team responsible for initiatives that reach out to both adults and school children. For example, Bee’ah has established school programmes that have already reached out to over 200,000 students, in the emirate. These efforts are aimed at instilling the next generation with a perspective on how best to dispose or recycle waste. In just one generation, Bee’ah hopes to shift the paradigm away from a culture of wastefulness to a culture of recycling and correct waste disposal.

“In relation to the few incidents highlighted, Bee’ah would like to state that, in addition to our awareness campaigns, signage is placed near the bins so as to inform the public of how to use them and which sections should be used for recycling purposes. While the photos submitted do show some of the bins at capacity, this is a rarity across the full complement of bins that are situated across the emirate. This is due to Tandeef’s regular collection times in Al Majaz and Buhaira Corniche areas. The three-stream bins are emptied daily, in the morning, including twice on Thursdays and Fridays, between 8pm and 11pm. In addition to this, the 2.4-cubic metre residential bins — green and blue — are emptied twice daily, at 10am and 11pm.

“Thank you again for your valuable input and feel free to call us at 800-Beeah at any time.”