People drop empty cans at a parking lot site. The Emirates Environmental Group conducted the can collection drive on Saturday across various locations in the UAE. Image Credit: Zarina Fernandes/Gulf News

Dubai Nearly 16,150kg of aluminium cans — or more than a million empty cans of soft drinks — were saved from being dumped into UAE landfills Saturday in a countrywide Can Collection Drive organised by the Emirates Environmental group (EEG).

These empty cans, if not recycled, could surpass this generation, the next, and the next one after that as they ‘break down' only after 50 to 100 years.

"We are mainly doing this because we know the effects of global warming on the environment. Because cans are non-biodegradable and they break down very slowly, they should be recycled and made into new cans," Vimal Pillai, 13, a student at The Millennium School in Dubai, told Gulf News.

Vimal came with his family to the Can Collection Drive to give their six months' worth of collected cans weighing 8kg. His younger sister, Namitha, helped collect the cans as well.

"When we go to parties, we tell our friends, ‘After you drink all these soft drinks you can collect the cans and put them in a bag. then after the party, we will take them home with us'", Namitha, 9, said.

The Pillai family was just one of the many people and groups that volunteered to collect and recycle their empty cans. Now in its 15th cycle, the campaign saw the participation of 300 government agencies, hotels, schools, companies, and families around the nation.

From Abu Dhabi alone, a total of 365kg of cans were donated by 37 groups and individuals. The EEG will also visit schools today to collect cans.