It is estimated [by the Ministry of Environment and Water] that a substantial percentage — about 50 per cent — of camel deaths in the UAE is due to consumption of waste material such as plastic bags.
Very often, we come across herds of camels foraging through garbage bins, especially near construction sites. I have been observing this along the Sharjah-Dhaid road, and recently decided that I could not be a mute spectator.
I snapped this photograph recently when I saw three camels fighting over a piece of newspaper and cardboard inserts from a Municipality waste bin.
The sad truth is that these beautiful ‘ships of the desert' do not know how much the consumption of such waste could harm them. The onus of protecting these majestic animals falls on us.
Simple methods of efficient waste collection from construction sites near deserts would help. Providing tamper-proof — or shall we say camel-proof — lids for garbage bins and the timely disposal of waste would provide a much-needed lifeline to these animals.
We have to realise that by dumping waste incorrectly, each one of us is responsible for killing animals.
The phenomenon [of litter] is widespread as I have come across scores of plastics bags, cardboard inserts, cans, tyres and bottles in wadis and remote desert areas of the UAE.
This simply should stop.
Camels do not know that waste consumption could kill them, but we definitely do.
It is a matter of great shame that scores of camels have to die so agonisingly because we cannot dispose our waste properly.
If you want to change the world, start by changing your habits.
— The reader is an operations manager in Dubai
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