Dubai: A “leave-no-footprints” eco venture is making a real difference by cleaning and recycling all waste left behind during endurance horse racing in the sandy barrens of Dubai.

Meydan Group confirmed on Wednesday that its training programme for stable grooms and staff involved in endurance racing is meeting its target to ensure an undisturbed desert remains after races.

Wastes like plastic bottles, and caps left behind after every endurance event are collected both at the Dubai International Endurance City and along the endurance racing track in the desert which is home to several species.

“The aim is to preserve the desert and its wildlife by cleaning up and recycling wastes produced during endurance rides,” the company said in a statement.

The group said the latest environmental effort is an extension of its ‘My Arena, My Environment’ campaign, a joint venture between the Meydan Group, Dubai Municipality and Union Paper Mills, one of the pioneers of recycling in the GCC region.

Abdul Rahim Abdullah, Meydan Landscape Project Manager, said the effort will help strike a balance between economy and the environment./

“We are aware that waste not only litters the landscape, but also proves to be harmful to the flora and fauna in the desert, making the ‘My Arena My Environment ‘campaign a vital component of our [corporate social responsibility] programme,” he said in a statement. “The clean-up and recycle programme can be effective only if those involved in the sport are made aware of the dangers of littering the desert, and this is why we have decided to conduct extensive training workshops for all those involved in endurance racing, with a focus on stable grooms and staff, who man the tracks and race arena. It is the people who are accountable to their environment.”

In the two years since its inception the campaign has focused primarily on endurance racing by collecting and recycling wastes created before, during and after each ride.

Dubai Municipality has been an active partner in this programme assisting at every stage.

Abdul Majeed Saifaie, Head of the Waste Management Department at Dubai Municipality, said the municipality is “keen to conduct awareness workshops with the stable staff, and those involved in endurance racing. This is part of our wider effort to make the city of Dubai green, and build awareness about the need for recycling, and reducing wastes.

“We are glad to be a part of this initiative from the Meydan Group; we believe it will go a long way in helping achieve the greater goal, of saving nature and our precious wildlife.”

The statistics show that the’ My Arena My Environment’ campaign has had remarkable success.

In 2016, a total of 90 tons of waste were collected during the season, and that went up significantly to 99 in 2017.

During the same time period, there was also an increase of recycling materials collected, to the tune of 1.8 tons.