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Gulf News article takes Abu Dhabi ‘paper bag boy’ to French TV

France 4 to telecast documentary on 9 young environmentalists

  • Abdul Muqeet (third from left standing), known as the ‘paper bag boy’ and his classmates at Abu Dhabi Indian SImage Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News
  • Abdul Muqeet (standing) and his classmates are thrilled that a French TV is doing a documentary about him at tImage Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News
  • Abdul Muqeet who is known as newspaper boy and his classmates are thrilled that a French TV is doing a documenImage Credit:
Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: When a French director googled ‘young environmentalists’ to do a documentary about them, a Gulf News article on an Abu Dhabi boy caught her attention.

Abdul Muqeet, who is known as "paper bag boy" for promoting paper bags as part of his anti-plastic bag campaign, was selected as one of the nine youngsters from across the globe to be featured in the documentary.

The 90-minute documentary titled ‘Super Heroes Generation’ will appear on France 4 television.

Eve Minault, director, and Frederic Balland, cameraman, were in Abu Dhabi for three days to extensively cover the story of Muqeet, 15, an 11th grader at Abu Dhabi Indian School.

“It is fascinating to see how a young boy is trying to save the environment. He is passionate about his cause,” Minault told Gulf News after shooting some parts of the documentary at the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi that has been supporting Muqeet’s campaign.

“It is a simple solution [making paper bags] but nobody does it!” the director said.

She said she felt guilty that she was not doing enough for the environment as much as Muqeet did.

Minault said ‘Super Heroes Generation’ was a follow-up to a previous documentary titled ‘Future’ telecast by France 4 last year and reached around 20 countries. “When you discuss future, it is about youngsters. If children don’t do anything for the planet, we don’t have a future,” she said.

The documentary is centred around discussions and debates about future of the planet in the wake of Paris climate agreement and the role of youngsters. It tells the stories of nine young environmentalists aged between 12 and 19 from nine different nations such as Canada, the USA, France, Germany, Spain, Kenya, South Africa, India and the UAE.

As first-time visitors to the UAE, Minault and Balland felt the summer heat was unbearable, still they enjoyed shooting Muqeet’s paper bag distribution at grocery stores and his normal life at home, school and Abu Dhabi streets.

The cameraman was impressed by the transportation system of Muqeet’s school. “They have around 40 buses and all are well-organised. I am happy to see such a good public transportation system here,” Balland said.

Minault said she had stopped using plastic bags long ago and therefore felt a personal link with Muqeet’s anti-plastic bag campaign.

Muqeet has suggested to make consumers pay for disposable plastic bags as successfully implemented by several western countries. “I am happy that the UAE is also considering this,” he said.

He said he was delighted that his message for environment would reach the French audience first time since he started promoting paper bags five years ago.

Muqeet had earlier said the presence of a Gulf News photographer made his first day of the campaign a success. “When I was distributing paper bags to groceries, the Gulf News photographer was there to cover it. When people saw him, they felt that I was doing something important and listened to me carefully,” he had said.

Now he is planning a new campaign. “It is to save water because availability of pure drinking water is dwindling day by day,” Muqeet said.