Dubai/Abu Dhabi/Fujairah: Environmental pollution not only concerns the rainforest and the melting Antarctic anymore - it concerns all of us.
Gulf News previously reported that hundreds of camels are killed every year by plastic left behind in the desert. One in every two camels dies from ingesting plastic, and the situation is getting worse by the day as desert campers leave plastic in the environment.
City Talk took to the streets to ask residents whether they were worried about environmental pollution, should plastic bags be banned, would harsher fines curb littering, and what they can do to preserve the environment.
Mahmoud Abdul Kawy, 29, Egyptian, Manager, said: "Plastic bags should not be thrown in public areas or places that are accessible by animals. Animals have a soul, just like humans, and it is our duty to protect them along with our environment.
"I believe the UAE should introduce stricter rules since this country is advancing by the minute. People should be fined for their carelessness, and the best way to preserve the environment is to treat it with care."
Shajil Thottupurath, Indian document control officer, 33, said: "There is no need to ban plastic bags, instead recycle them. People should not be fined but educated so that they learn why it is important not to litter, and that we should all respect the environment of animals."
A Filipina, Gen Nantin, 30, who arrived in the UAE two weeks ago, said: "With the weather changes I have witnessed so far in the UAE, I believe we should worry about environmental pollution. I don't think plastic bags should be fully banned, since shops need them. However, the government should start introducing brown bags that are re-cycled material and healthier. The government should enforce a law and start fining people who throw garbage or plastic bags in the streets."
Ahmad Jasem, Emirati army trainee, 26, said: "I am concerned when I see young children throwing rubbish out of the car windows. Adults have no excuse to litter the environment, and they should wait until they arrive home and throw their rubbish away."
Ayman Nawar, business development manager from Egypt, 30, said: "Everyone should work to recycle bags because at the end of the day it's the same cost for individuals. People should be made aware of the impacts of pollution, and should learn to throw their rubbish in a dustbin and not on the floor."
Allan Cueto, 38, Philippines, Architect, said: "I am worried about environmental pollution for the next generation, not for me. I believe in another substitute instead of plastic, and I believe they are already promoting the re-usable bags here.
"I think we should first start a campaign to promote hygiene then enforce fines if that doesn't work. I would focus on the younger generation to preserve the environment and introduce as much educational campaigns as possible among all age groups."
Salman Sarwar, Banker, Pakistan, said: "I am worried about the different types of pollution around us, such as air, noise, hygiene etc. There should be a better alternative for plastic bags. Paper bags are better, but still not an alternative. I believe fining people is the best thing to do and creating public awareness through campaigns is a must."
Indian publisher Kavita Korah, 38, said: "Plastic bags are definitely a health hazard and fines should be levied because that's the only way to make them understand what they are doing is wrong. People should keep their litter in the car until they find a dustbin to throw it away."
Ahmad Al Ansari, 27, Emirati Bank manager, said: "Most people already know they should not litter and should look after the environment but most just don't take it seriously and some deliberately choose to ignore it. There should also be financial penalties, strong enough, to make people realise the seriousness of this issue, not just to the animals but to the environment in general."
Ahmad Shawqi, 46, Shares manager from Egypt, said: "I have always taught my children to be responsible about their litter and I won't even allow throwing a sheet of tissue from the car window. The municipalities have provided plenty of rubbish bins, so there are no excuses."
Dr Dya Zein Al Aabideen, 50, Syrian dentist, said: "I don't think the environmental awareness and littering penalties are strong enough and that is why we still see plenty of people showing absolutely no responsibility. We did not grow up with the culture of protecting the environment, it is something we're learning to do and hopefully the following generations will grow up with."