Dubai: Winners of a best practice award on Tuesday demonstrated that even with limited means, a lot can still be achieved.
For the eighth year Dubai Municipality distributed a $30,000 (Dh110,167) prize to 12 of the best projects ongoing worldwide that improve the quality of life of a community.
Facing worse plastic bag pollution problems than the UAE, an entrepreneur from Mongolia set up a small-scale business collaborating with 30 people to pick up plastic bag waste that had accumulated over 150 hectares, affecting plants and livestock.
Due to population growth and increased consumption the amount of waste in Mongolia is currently 43.2 million tonnes of waste annually of which up to 40 per cent is plastic.
Every year Olonbayar Godon and Munkh-Ochir Enebish from San-Orgu Company in Dharkhan City recycle approximately 250 tonnes of plastic accumulated from bags and waste dumped in the environment.
The raw material produces more than 30 products such as chairs, fences, pens and hard-plastic covers for plumbing wells and railway parts that substitute wood and iron.
"We are not afraid of difficulties. We run the activity with a very small amount of money for five years," said Godon. "At present we keep operating by [manual labour] and hard work."
The company employs 150 people full time and has already achieved the greening of 7.4 hectares after clearing the land of plastic. They took home one of the 12 awards handed out at the Dubai International Awards for Best Practices (DIABP) yesterday by Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance.
The ceremony also awarded winners from Angola, Kenya, Lebanon, Mongolia, Bulgaria, Spain, Brazil, El Salvador and Mexico.
Mariam Khayat, programme director from the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) in Lebanon collected the prize for the sustainable environmental practices and policies accomplished in Tyre and Beka'a Valley. The YMCA established a solid waste treatment plant that serves 56 villages and approximately 300,000 people, and nine wastewater treatment plants that serve 10 rural villages.
"We have trainer training in most villages and also train school teachers in resource conservation so they can pass on the message to students through songs, games and interactive activities," said Khayat.
DIABP attracted participants from all over the world and received 384 nominations from more than 60 countries, said Hussain Nasser Lootah, Director-General of Dubai Municipality.
The Technical Advisory Committee has exerted great efforts by holding a number of meetings to shortlist 102 submissions, from which 12 best practices were selected by the international jury, he said.