Copy of FTC DUBAI CAN 31-1650624110456
A water fountain at Burj Park, as part of the Dubai Can initiative. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: In February this year, the Dubai Can sustainability initiative was launched by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council. In just two months, there are 40 water fountains already across the city, with the aim to increase these to 50 by the end of this year. Given that the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS) — Goal 6 is focused on ensuring accessible water for all, initiatives such as Dubai Can are key to building the world we want to live in.

Dubai Can, which became the first campaign of its kind in the city to focus on reducing the use of single-use plastic bottles across the city and encouraging a refill water bottle culture, which has received incredible support from Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism’s stakeholders and partners and communities in the emirate. To date, more than 500 destinations, hotels, tourist attractions and malls across the city have come on board and tens of thousands of people have committed themselves to using a refillable water bottle, in a strong show of support for the ‘Refill for Life’ initiative. Since the launch of Dubai Can, from the water fountains alone, the initiative has resulted in a reduction of the equivalent of 551,650 500ml single-use plastic water bottles.

Catalyst for change

Yousuf Lootah, Executive Director, Tourism Development and Investments, Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism, and Vice-Chairman of Dubai Sustainable Tourism, said: “The Dubai Can ‘Refill for Life’ movement is a catalyst for helping achieve the UAE’s sustainability targets and supports Dubai’s ‘Smart and Sustainable’ city ambitions this Earth Day and every day.”

“This year marks more than five decades since Earth Day was established to rally people from across the world as part of a unified global response to combatting climate change. Since 1970, Earth Day has created a new generation of environmentalists and sustainability advocates and has engaged billions of people worldwide. From climate literary campaigns empowering communities, to educational curriculums reaching millions of children, the impact of Earth Day has been far reaching,” Lootah added.

Act, innovate and implement

He added: “It is appropriate in a post-pandemic world that the theme for Earth Day 2022 is ‘Invest in our Planet’. Global sustainability leaders around the world are encouraging governments and citizens to come together to act (boldly), innovate (broadly) and implement (equitably) in order to restore nature, support the planet and create a better tomorrow.”

The visionary leadership of Dubai views sustainability as a priority and is committed to combatting the impacts of climate change through the implementation of strategies and policies that have a positive impact on the environment and contribute to sustainability efforts in line with the UAE’s commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS) and the UAE Net Zero 2050 initiative.

Implementing sustainability across sectors

With the ambition to become a ‘Smart and Sustainable’ city, Dubai is accelerating its efforts towards achieving its goals and ushering in a green economy. Residents and visitors to Dubai experience this bold commitment to smart sustainability in their everyday interactions and experiences. From sustainable urban Metro trains taking commuters down the length of city, to giant desert solar plants producing some of the cleanest electricity in the world that fuels our houses, schools and offices, to green-certified buildings where we work and play, to lively organic food markets displaying seasonal fruit and vegetables, Dubai is at the forefront of global efforts to implement sustainability across sectors.

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Reducing reliance on plastic bottles

Dubai Can is just one example of a movement that has been embraced by the community that supports citywide sustainability efforts. It has already proven to be a catalyst for change, reducing reliance on plastic bottles and inspiring grassroots movements in offices, homes and schools. As we approach Earth Day, we hope that even more of Dubai’s residents and visitors will come together to ‘Invest in our Planet’ and adopt a refill culture. We are confident that together we can ensure that ‘Dubai Can’ make a difference.