Emirates Environmental Group (EEG) organized its 14th cycle of Waste Management and Recycling Programs Awarding Ceremony on the 5th of June at the Knowledge Village under the theme ‘Forests: Nature at your Service’ in commemoration of World Environment Day and in support of ‘2011 International Year of the Forest’.
This year, the winners were honoured by the guest of honour H.E. Major General Mohammed Ahmed Al Marri, Director of General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners’ Affairs-Dubai and in the presence of H.E. Dr. Mohammed Saeed Al Kindi, Former Minister of Environment and Water and Honorary EEG Member, H.E Abdul Aziz Bin Abdullah Al Midfa, Former President of EPAA and EEG Executive Committee Member, government officials, EEG Honorary members, Executive Committee Members, VIPs, winners of the various waste management programs, representatives of the corporate world, academic institutions, media, individuals and families.
Each year EEG hosts this prestigious event to recognize the highest achievers and dedicated recyclers that reside in the UAE. Participants who manage their waste effectively by contributing to EEG’s waste management campaigns are praised for their efforts and encouraged to keep their recycling efforts going at this colourful and exciting annual event.
There are no boundaries, limits or rules as to who can participant in EEG’s campaigns; every sector of society is accommodated for and welcomed with open arms. Schools, universities, corporations, government entities, families & individuals all contribute to recycling their waste through EEG and in doing so are supported by the wealth of supplementary activities and events that EEG also host throughout the year. However, this special event, the Waste Management Awards Ceremony’ is specifically designed and dedicated to give back to society and offer appreciation for the recycling efforts that have happened in the UAE over the past year.
As environmental challenges continue and the major global governing bodies undergo reform, there has never been such an urgency to shift populations into a sustainable path of life. Appropriate waste management is a major hurdle that stands in the way of sustainable development, but with the continued efforts of EEG, it’s members and participants, waste management is gradually becoming controlled and sustainable. However, it is imperative that waste management and recycling is taken seriously by everyone, across the planet, because it needs a collaborative effort in order for maximum benefits.
The Awards Ceremony began with EEG Chairperson, Mrs. Habiba Al Marashi, welcoming all the participants, winners and sponsors. She thanked all attendees and commended the achievements of the winning participants, who continuously strive to make a difference. She mentioned that without their dedication and persistence the UAE would be a more doleful place.
Mrs. Al Marashi then went on to mention World Environment Day, which is a celebration of life and nature across the world, as well as an important day to raise awareness for environmental protection. She was also proud to announce how this year’s theme for the Awards ceremony tied in with supporting the International Year of Forests for 2011.
The importance of forests was briefly mentioned; attendees listened contently as Mrs. Al Marashi highlighted that forests are not only a habitat for organisms, they harbor enormous biodiversity and are a source of food, fuel and water for humankind. She also reminded participants that with their efforts to recycle paper and cardboard, they are saving these valuable forests from destruction by reducing the burden and need for virgin paper.
The Waste Management and Recycling Program Awards ceremony fit neatly inline with EEG’s overall mission and objectives, because in addition to giving recognition to the highest achievers of each campaign, it is also a day to showcase the environment, create awareness and demonstrate what positive actions can be achieved by individuals, schools and companies if determined enough. It also contributes to the UAE’s larger environmental policies by reducing the overall carbon and ecological footprint of the country.
The various waste management programs of EEG include Can, Glass, Paper, Plastic, Toner, Tetra Pak, Mobile Phones and Battery collections.
EEG has recently finished their 2010 - 2011 cycle of the ‘Can Collection Campaign’ which runs from September 2010 to May 2011. A staggering 20233 kilograms of Aluminium Cans were collected as a result of this campaign. As compared to 2009, there has been an increase of 13% in the total amount collected. This collection has enabled EEG to mitigate greenhouse gases (GHG) to the equivalent of 304 metric tons of CO2. There has also been a 70% increase in terms of participation as compared to last year.
During 2010 EEG managed to collect and recycle 1,460,885 kg of paper and cardboard. This remarkable effort is down to the participants of the campaign. Together with EEG, an equivalent of 24,835 trees has been saved, just through the action of recycling. This is a stark reminder of how important it is to recycle paper and cardboard materials because forests are too valuable to destroy. There has been a growth of 17% as compared to 2009. The total amount of GHG gases that have been mitigated as a result of this are an equivalent of 5654 metric tons of CO2. The participation in 2010 has increased by a whopping 193% as compared to 2009.
The amount of plastics that has been diverted away from landfills during 2010 is also a great achievement. 111364 kgs of plastic have been recycled, mitigating GHG equivalent to 184 metric tons of CO2. As compared t0 2009, there has been a decrease of less than 1% in the total amount collected. There has also been a 39% increase in the participation from educational institutions, corporate bodies and individuals too.
EEG believes that there is no logic in throwing away glass that will take up valuable space in a landfill when it can be recycled over and over again. Thus, in the Glass Collection Campaign, EEG did surpass the previous year’s collection total by 40% by bringing in 277,535 kgs of glass for recycling. This collection has enabled EEG to reduce or mitigate GHG equivalent to 86 metric tons of CO2. There has also been an increase of 30% in terms of participation, comparing 2009 and 2010.
The toner collection campaign has resulted in a collection of 8916 cartridges in the year 2010 and the battery collection campaign saw a collection of 1268 kilograms of batteries. These batteries are properly disposed off by Dubai Municipality. Thus, there has been a growth of 9% and 28% in the Toner and Battery Collection Campaigns, respectively. There has also been an increase of 21% and 12% in participation in the two campaigns, respectively.
By recycling mobiles, valuable materials are freed up and resources are turned into new products. Metals recovered from phones can be used in many different ways including jewellery making, electronic components and automotive manufacturing. EEG partnered with Nokia for its Mobile Recycling campaign. Thus, in 2010 EEG collected a total of 1,292 pieces of mobile phones and accessories, showing an increase of 146% as compared to 2009. There was also an 81% increase in the total participation in the campaign.
Launched in 2010, the TetraPak Collection Campaign, in partnership with TetraPak Arabia, has resulted in a collection of 2271 kilograms of TetraPaks. EEG has also been contacting a number of hotels in the country for the collection of this recyclable.
In addition to celebrating World Environment Day the winning results of EEG’s Environmental Drawing Competition were displayed and the winners and runners up for each category were announced and awarded. This highly popular event showcased the artistic flair of many young students whilst encouraging them to include important environmental messages within their work. The competition was held for two categories between the age groups of 6-8 years and 9-11 years. Each age group was given a topic that related to the environment and the budding artists had to include this theme in their entries. The topic for the first group was “Protection of Marine Life” and the topic for the older group was “Save our Forests”. For the first time, the Competition was opened to schools all over the UAE, resulting in hundreds of applicants from across the country. The overall winners of the competition were Aanchal Balwani (6-8 years) and Adithya Rathi (9-11 years).
It has also become a customary tradition for EEG to support an ‘Art from Waste’ exhibition during the Awards ceremony. This year, 14 active EEG school members exhibited the work they crafted, sculptured or made from material that could be recycled or classified as waste. The ingenuity and resourcefulness of the students always creates an amazing exhibition, and the students are always on hand to proudly explain and showcase their art.
The Waste Management and Recycling Programs Awards this year were sponsored by: Al Safi Club for Friends of the Environment, Coca Cola Middle East, Brother International, Dubai Dolphinarium, Clifford Chance, FRIGO Glass Jebel Ali FZCO, Swiss International Airlines, and Nokia. EEG is also grateful to Dubai International Academic City for hosting the event as it does with a number of other EEG programs. EEG would also like to thank their media partners Sama Dubai, Tawasul TV, City7TV, Gulf News and 7 Days for there continued support.