Green n Tidy team gathers after clean up drive Image Credit:

We, the residents of Al Nahda, Sharjah have taken the initiative of cleaning our area and have started the Green ‘n’ Tidy! campaign.

The aim of the campaign is to help spread awareness to keep the surrounding area clean and tidy. It is alarming to see the increase in garbage that is strewn out in the open, rather than being disposed in bins.

Our team of 13 put up notices on each floor of our building and personally distributed flyers in each household. As a part of this campaign, two clean up events were held to help spread awareness about keeping our surroundings clean.

Green ‘n’ Tidy! gives every individual an opportunity to give back to the land that we stay in, by cleaning it. This way we as expats in the UAE, can help in making every city in the country cleaner.

Youngsters from the area have been especially enthusiastic. “Despite 2019 being the Year of Tolerance, one thing nobody tolerates is litter. And that was the fundamental idea behind our whole initiative,” said Sudarshan Iyengar, a 16-year-old participant.

Another volunteer, Mirza Zaid, 15, added: “Environmental cleanliness begins with each individual’s desire to be clean.”

Our first event for this campaign took place on Friday, April 12 and our second event took place the following weekend, on Friday, April 19. Not only children and youngsters, but parents were also very supportive.

“It’s incredible how these children have collaborated in striving for a better Earth,” said Zakkir Husain, whose children contributed to the campaign.

“It’s great to see our children working hard to make a difference in the society, and ultimately the Earth” said Roopashree Raghavan, another parent whose children participated.

The weather conditions were a little unfavorable to us hence we had to reduce the time of the event. All the volunteers were provided with the basic equipment required to help collect the waste. The kit included masks, gloves and plastic bags. Refreshments were also provided to the individuals.

“Getting people together for such a cause requires immense effort, and through teamwork, we managed it,” said Saani Mohammed Khan, 15-year-old student.

Positive response

During these events, we cleaned the roads and grounds adjacent to our building. We successfully collected more than 1,100 kilograms of recyclable and general waste. Each individual on an average collected five bags of recyclable waste.

This feat was achieved with the help other residents of the building. There were people from all age groups but the group comprised mostly of children between the ages seven to 16.

“Even though we prepared a lot and informed people, I had doubts about whether people would show up. But, what happened during the drive left me speechless,” said Vishruthy Sai Kumar, student based in Sharjah.

In total, we were nine main coordinators, five head volunteers and more than 300 volunteers for both the events combined. We collected paper, plastic, glass and general waste. Everyone eagerly helped us clean the area. We collected the bags filled with recyclable waste and segregated it into categories. Then a few coordinators and volunteers helped weigh the bags. This waste was then taken to a recycling center by some of the residents.

“The environment is not mine or yours, but ours, and we have a duty in taking care of it,” said Benjamin Joseph, student and campaign participant.

“It is a great initiative taken by the children of our building. Kudos to this idea, I am very happy and proud to support this initiative,” said Indu Sahijwani, whose children also contributed to the event.

Request to authorities

Our parents and various other people were supportive of this campaign. The whole event went on smoothly and as planned.

The only problem we faced was the transportation of the recyclable waste because there are no designated recycling bins in our area.

Hence, we request the authorities to increase the number of bins for depositing general waste and recyclables across the country.

We would also request the authorities to increase the number of streetlights, as the dimness of the area encourages people to liter without being noticed or caught.

— The reader is a student based in Sharjah.

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