The campaign was launched by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai, last February Image Credit: WAM

Dubai: Dubai Can, the citywide sustainability movement launched on February 15, 2022, has successfully reduced the use of an equivalent of more than 7 million 500 millilitre single-use plastic water bottles in its first year.

Dubai Can has been widely adopted with participation from homes, offices, hotels, schools, and the installation of 50 water fountains in strategic places across the city, including public parks, beaches, and popular tourist destinations, with the help of its partners and sponsors.

The fountains can be found in well-known neighbourhoods such as Kite Beach, Dubai Marina, and Downtown Dubai. Working together with Talabat, an online food delivery service, Dubai Can has expanded its fountain locations and improved awareness. Fountains were recently added in four additional prominent locations - Hatta, Dubai Sports City, Port Rashid, and Dubai Internet City.

All water stations throughout the city adhere to the highest hygiene standards and comply strictly with municipal, healthcare, and federal regulations. The stations provide clean and safe drinking water, which is tested in accordance with DEWA, GCC, and World Health Organization standards.

Yousuf Lootah

Yousuf Lootah, Acting CEO of Corporate Strategy and Performance sector at Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET), said: “In line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to make Dubai a leading sustainable destination, the Dubai Can movement has experienced considerable success since its launch one year ago.”

He added: “We are extremely proud of the progress the initiative has made and we hope that during this year and beyond, the initiative will continue to encourage residents and tourists to adopt greener practices and lifestyle choices contributing to the Dubai Economic Agenda D33’s goal of consolidating Dubai’s status as one of the world’s top three global cities.

Year of Sustainability

“The success of this initiative could not have been possible without the wholehearted support of our valued city stakeholders and partners, as well as the city’s public-private partnerships that significantly contributed to Dubai’s sustainability strategy.

As we strive to achieve all of the city’s sustainability goals and position it as the best city in the world to live in, work and visit, we look forward to the continued success of Dubai Can, particularly in 2023, which has been declared as UAE’s ‘Year of Sustainability.”

read more

Changing mindsets

The Dubai Can initiative has inspired significant change at both the individual and community level over the past year, extending beyond the installation of fountains. Its objective is to increase awareness of the harmful effects of single-use plastics and promote the use of reusable bottles not only at water fountains but also in homes, hotels, and elsewhere, aiming to change people’s mindsets.

Many private companies in Dubai have been inspired by Dubai Can to install water fountains in their offices, reducing single-use plastics in the workplace. Above all, the movement has encouraged residents and visitors to the UAE to adopt more sustainable behaviours and become conscientious consumers.

Plastic ban

The initiative is in line with Dubai’s commitment to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs) and becoming a fully sustainable destination, especially since the city is the host of COP28 this year. As part of the UAE’s Year of Sustainability in 2023, the campaign has entered its second year and has become a driving force for the city’s sustainability strategy. The initiative’s momentum aligns with the ban on single-use plastic bags, which came into effect on June 1, 2022, demonstrating the UAE’s commitment to environmental protection and waste reduction.


“Our efforts towards Dubai Can initiative are also in line with Marriott International’s commitment in creating positive and sustainable impact wherever we do business. We look forward to doing more to support this incredibly important initiative.”

Tatiana Rahal, Managing Director at talabat UAE, said: “As we hit the one-year mark of talabat UAE becoming Dubai Can’s only founding partner, we are incredibly grateful for the Dubai government’s efforts to provide the community, including all delivery riders, with access to free drinking water across the city. One of our core values at talabat is to be central drivers of change and innovation and we believe that sustainability is a critical force for positive impact.”

She added: “Dubai Can goes beyond reducing single-use plastic bottles; it offers a citywide solution and enables people to adopt environmentally friendly habits. With COP 28 taking place in the UAE this year, the initiative is a reflection of the leadership's vision to encourage the adoption of sustainable ways of living to protect the environment and reduce the impact of climate change.”

Duncan O’Rourke, Chief Executive Officer Middle East, Africa & Asia Pacific for Premium, Midscale and Economy brands, Accor Group, said: “Accor’s participation in the Dubai Can initiative was a two-prong approach, the first of which was sponsoring one of the first public fountains in the city, at the Dubai World Trade Centre. The second aspect of our involvement in the project was to implement in-house filtration units providing safe and plastic-free drinking water to guests throughout our 55 hotels in the city. We have so far achieved 20% implementation, a number we hope to steadily increase throughout the year. We are proud to be active participants in this incredible initiative and look forward to further developing our support throughout our hotels.”

Aligi Gardenghi, Vice President, Operations, Arabian Peninsula, Hilton, said: “In addition to supporting Dubai Can on a practical level – implementing initiatives such as air-to-water machines and water purifying systems across a range of our properties – we believe it’s invaluable as part of a broader, society-wide effort needed to foster real behavioural change, especially with the city set to lead the global climate action conversation when hosting COP 28 later this year. From this perspective, Dubai Can is perfectly aligned with Travel With Purpose, our global ESG strategy to drive responsible travel and tourism. As a leading brand in Dubai’s dynamic hospitality space, it’s imperative that we continue to embrace opportunities such as Dubai Can to effect positive environmental and social impact across our operations, supply chain, and communities.”

Sandeep Walia, Chief Operating Officer, Middle East, Marriott International, said: “We are excited to celebrate the one-year mark of the Dubai Can initiative. The efforts of the leaders and DET have inspired individuals, communities, and organisations to take initiative and support this incredible citywide sustainability movement. Marriott International is fully committed to supporting Dubai Can. In the past year, our teams have come together to support the initiative in multiple ways including the installation of water filtration systems connected with the municipality’s water supply across many of our properties in Dubai. Other ongoing initiatives include the installation of in-house bottling plants and public water filter stations at participating hotels, as well efforts to remove the use of plastic across our restaurants in the city.

“Our efforts towards Dubai Can initiative are also in line with Marriott International’s commitment in creating positive and sustainable impact wherever we do business. We look forward to doing more to support this incredibly important initiative.”

Tim Cordon, COO, Middle East and Africa at Radisson Hotel Group, said: “Radisson Hotel Group believes in a thriving, sustainable, and responsible business that supports our people, communities, and the planet with ethical business procedures, carbon reduction, sustainability practices, and employability programs to build better futures. Being part of the Dubai Can citywide sustainability movement is self-evident for us since we, as a company, already have a strong, responsible business heritage and sustainability program in place, which is built around three Pillars: Think People, Think Community, and Think Planet.”

Hossam Kamal, General Manager, Amwaj Rotana, said: “I am proud that in line with Rotana Earth initiatives, Amwaj Rotana has joined the global environmental movement and became the first Rotana hotel to use sustainable bottles for drinking water in guest rooms. As a five-star hotel, we can see first-hand the impact of plastic on our surroundings and environment. We believe that reducing plastic consumption is the most effective way to combat waste and positively impact the environment. We are moving toward a meaningful change which not only positively impacts the ecosystem, but also supports our guests who prioritise sustainable travel. It is an honour to be involved in such an important initiative and hope that our guests enjoy the new bottles during their stay with us.”

Ghaith Dalati, Hotel Manager, Pullman Dubai Creek City Hotel & Residences, said: “We at our MAF-Accor are proud to support the Dubai Can initiative. In our commitment to reduce the use of plastic water bottles across our seven hotels and as part of Dubai Can campaign launched in 2022, several initiatives and projects have been launched to reduce plastic waste. In all our restaurants and meeting rooms, we use refillable, glass-filtered water for our guests’ use. We have also equipped all our long stay residential units with water filters and completely removed single-use bottles from the apartments. We are fully aligned with and will continue to help drive a culture of conscious consumerism when it comes to single use-plastic water bottles. One initiative in this direction is our collaboration with Eshara, where their Atmospheric Water Generator machines have helped us reduce thousands of plastic bottles on monthly basis. We have placed their water generators in our recreational areas and back of house, to provide our guest with free and safe water. This initiative is being scaled up to provide all our hotel rooms with fresh water bottles using recycled glass bottles as well.”

Paul Bridger, COO of Rove Hotels, said: “From day one, Rove Hotels has been positioned as a brand that stands for tackling important environmental issues and aligns with the UAE’s Net Zero by 2050 initiative. All Rove properties are Green Key certified, and we are always working on simple yet impactful everyday steps to become more sustainable, such as reducing the amount of single-use plastic used in our operations. Some of these initiatives include replacing plastic water bottles in our restaurants and event spaces with refillable glass carafes, implementing recycling and garbage separation in every room, replacing key plastic cards with bamboo ones, using energy and water efficiency measures across our hotel buildings, and placing complimentary filtered water taps in our hotels’ public areas, among many other things.”

Mark Lee, General Manager of Media One Hotel, said: “Since joining the Dubai Can movement, and partnering with GROHE, Media One is proudly one of the very first sustainable hotels in Dubai. The unveiling of the Office Tower water dispenser has been a huge success as we hoped it would be. It is estimated to have over 200 daily users, plus continuous still and sparkling refills by the 1,000 office tenants and in-house guests. Media One has implemented its very own non-plastic reusable bottles which are available for all guests to purchase in our M12go coffee shop, just meters from the Grohe water tap. The Dubai Can initiative is one huge part contributing to us proudly being a zero-plastic property.”

Amal El Ansari, General Manager, Swissotel Al Ghurair, said: “This year has been a memorable one for Swissotel Al Ghurair, as along with Dubai’s initiative, our owner’s support and by launching our very own water filtration system, we have welcomed and offered fresh drinking water to thousands of Dubai residents and visitors; taking a step towards a better future, towards sustainability and proving to the world that Dubai (indeed) Can make a difference.”

Marwan Hadi, Group Head of Retail Banking and Wealth Management, at Emirates NBD, said: “We are delighted to celebrate the success of the citywide Dubai Can initiative launched one year ago. It is rewarding to see so many residents embracing this positive change and coming together to support a common cause to preserve our precious city. As a socially responsible banking group, we will continue to pledge our support toward such initiatives advocating the preservation of the environment.”

Jiawei Liu, CEO of Huawei UAE, said: “We are proud to be associated with and are committed to this sustainability initiative. Huawei has been continuously working with the UAE government to make UAE one of the best countries in the world. We believe that together we can make difference. By using refillable water containers, we can better contribute to environment protection and a sustainable future.”

Marwan Al-Mulla, General Manager at Dollar Dubai & Oman, said: “We extend our support to Dubai Can. Let’s say no to single-use plastic bottles and together make sure the world is taken care of when it comes to recyclability. Carry your bottle during your next ride with us; let’s be part of this big initiative. Be wise to raise the sustainability spirit with one small change!”