Hundreds of animals, birds and marine species have died due to plastic ingestion. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai: Here are the big facts first.

Of the 3.6 million tonnes of domestic waste generated by Dubai in 2017, 30 per cent was plastic waste.

In other words, Dubai produced one million tonnes of plastic waste in 2017.

The annual usage of plastic bags in Dubai in 2017 was estimated to be around 3.6 million pieces, a 25 per cent increase from the 2.9 million figure Dubai Municipality released in 2013.

Will the residents of Dubai help bring down that number for 2018?

“The city of Dubai is producing almost 9,300 tonnes of domestic waste per day. Thirty per cent of it unfortunately is plastic,” said Abdul Majeed Abdul Aziz Al Saifaie (right), director of the Waste Management Department, Dubai Municipality.

Dubai Municipality’s war on waste, especially plastic waste, has gathered momentum as it strives to achieve the strategic goal of diverting 75 per cent of waste from landfills by 2021.

The civic body is adding up various efforts apart from partnering with private companies for recycling waste.

The Waste Management Department of the civic body has adopted various projects and campaigns specifically to reduce the volume of plastic waste going to landfills.

“All our campaigns target segregating waste at source and promoting recycling and reuse,” said Al Saifaie.

9,300 tonnes
of domestic waste Dubai residents produce per day, of which 30% is plastic. Think about it and make a difference.

With the usage of plastic continuing to grow, officials are urging the residents to limit the use of plastic bags and other plastic products.

The department has also been promoting segregation of plastic waste at source.

“We have set up 13 Smart Sustainable Oasis Centres, where people can easily deposit as many as 18 types of recyclable items including plastic.

In the second phase of the project, we are expecting shopping centres and malls to come forward for setting up these collection centres for recyclables,” said Al Saifaie.

HOW TO HELP: A small step can go a long way 

1. Know the problem, start at home and your community 
2. Segregate waste
3. Reduce, reuse recycle
4. Join clean up campaigns
5. Form or sign up with an environmental club/group in your community.
6. Here's one example of community action: 1 million plastic bottles in 5 days were collected in a giant trash bag set up at LuLu Hypermarket, Al Barsha during the Clean up the World Campaign in 2017.

Perception of plastics among GCC residents  

A survey commissioned by the Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA) revealed that only 38% of GCC residents have an informed view of recycleable and degradable plastics.

Consistently, most residents couldn't pinpoint which plastics can be recycled. Only a modest proportion of GCC residents correctly matched different plastics to their international recycling codes.