Sharjah: As the world and the UAE keep looking for ways to raise awareness on reducing carbon footprint and making the universe cleaner and greener for current and future generations, every single effort, no matter how big or small, in this regard is worth taking note.
Take, for instance, Emirati volunteer Ali Darwish Al Zaabi who is doing his bit for a cleaner and greener UAE. Ahead of World Environment Day on June 5, Al Zaabi said he collected more than 2,550 empty glass bottles of a fruit drink brand from Sharjah and other emirates for the purpose of recycling, in order to help preserve the UAE’s environment and natural beauty.
Al Zaabi, who has been volunteering for more than 30 years, told Gulf News that all the bottles were handed over to him by others after his passion for collecting used bottles became known on social media, following an Instagram post of his. He counted the bottles and packed them in boxes, with each box containing 30 bottles. He has kept as many as 85 of these boxes in a store.
Help save animals
Al Zaabi has collected these bottles in cooperation with families across all emirates. He aims to recycle them in order to preserve the environment and help save animals. Al Zaabi collected 1,100 bottles from Ras Al Khaimah, followed by 950 bottles from Sharjah and the rest from the other emirates.
In addition to his collection of bottles, Al Zaabi said he had collected 19,286kg of paper and 4,088kg of plastic material in two months and handed them over to Emirates Environmental Group and to Be’aah environment firm for recycling. Both organisations have honoured him for his contributions.
At the beginning of the initiative, Al Zaabi had a target of collecting 1,000 bottles, but by the end of the initiative on May 7, he had collected 2,550 bottles, thereby far exceeding his target.
As an incentive, Al Zaabi handed over gifts in the form of perfumes and sweets to those who contributed the largest number of bottles. The family of Issa Al Yafa’ai topped the winners’ list with 895.
‘Freeing up space in landfills’
Commenting on the drive, Al Zaabi said: “Recycling glass helps in reducing air pollution and water pollution. It also helps free up space in landfills that would otherwise have been taken up by these used bottles and jars. Using glass for recycling means there are less glass objects lying around in landfills or in trash bins. Glass can be melted and given different forms. When the glass is taken to a manufacturing or recycling plant, it is broken up into smaller pieces called cullet.
All in the family
Al Zaabi started his volunteering work in 1992. His family — including his five children, Abdul Rahman, 22; Jamela, 18; Afraa, 16; Mazna, 14; and Sultan, 12 — joined him in the volunteering work in 2009.
Al Zaabi thanked his team who supported him and helped him in his recycling work, including his brothers Nasser and Ahmad and the residents of UAE — both Emiratis and expatriates. He is also an active member of a Sharjah volunteer group and was among the volunteers in the UAE who offered their help in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.
Al Zaabi concluded: “I love to help anyone who is in need of help and see the smile on his or her face. I am not looking for fame or profit, just the excitement and positivity are enough to keep me going.”