RAK Free Trade Zone Cleans Up the UAE

Published December 28th, 2009 - 10:20 GMT

Ras Al Khaimah Free Trade Zone (RAK FTZ), one of the fastest-growing free zones in the region, once again, has demonstrated its commitment to the environment.  On 19 December, RAK FTZ organised an effort to clear waste scattered on Hulayla Island’s beaches, as part of the eighth ‘Clean Up UAE’ national campaign.

In spite of grey and rainy weather, the day proved a huge success, with between 300-400 volunteers – from RAK FTZ, local government schools, and private companies – showing up to do their part. Close to 800 garbage bags worth of litter and debris were collected.

Since its introduction in 2002, the ‘Clean Up UAE’ campaign, which is organised by the Emirates Environmental Group (EEG), has been instrumental in bringing all segments of UAE communities together – from government organisations to private companies and individuals – who wish to do their part to preserve the UAE’s natural beauty.  

When it comes to addressing environmental concerns, RAK FTZ is a leader among Ras Al Khaimah Government organisations and takes pride in its reputation as an ‘environmentally friendly free zone’.  For the past five years, the free zone has supported the ‘Clean Up UAE’ campaign as part of its endeavours to work with the community towards improving the local environment.

Commenting on RAK FTZ’s support for the campaign, RAK FTZ CEO, Oussama El Omari, said: “Our annual participation in ‘Clean Up UAE’ is a great way for us to extend our environmental efforts to the community level.  With cooler weather upon us, we are all eager to get outside and experience nature; but it is hard to enjoy a nice day at the beach or in the desert, if there is litter strewn all around.  Helping to clean up the beaches and public areas is an excellent way to give back to the people of Ras Al Khaimah, who have been a great support to our organisation, and to unite with them behind a common cause – to keep our beautiful emirate a clean and healthy place in which to work, live and play,”

El Omari went on to discuss RAK FTZ’s stand regarding environmental issues. “Protecting our environment is absolutely essential to the wellbeing of our organisation and the community,” he said. “Currently the UAE’s per capita waste generation is among the highest in the world – a direct result of the fast paced development in the region. Since we all have enjoyed and continue to reap the benefits of this amazing progress and growth, it is only fitting that we also take responsibility for its effect on our environment.  At RAK Free Trade Zone, we believe we have a duty to care for our environment, and it is one that we take very seriously, with our Environment, Health & Safety (EHS) programme that promotes recycling as well as energy and water conservation.”

EEG Chairperson, Habiba Al Marashi, also stressed individual responsibility.  “Each one of us holds an obligation to preserve and protect our environment,” she remarked. “Through our everyday choices and actions, we can collectively make a huge impact on our country. We, at EEG, firmly believe that if everyone makes a commitment to dispose responsibly what cannot be reused or recycled, there would no longer be a need to organise clean-up operations of such magnitude.”

RAK FTZ is the first government organisation of its kind, in Ras Al Khaimah, to implement a rigorous EHS programme designed to ensure that its staff and clients adhere to NEBOSH & ISO 14001 standards and observe Federal Environmental Protection Law (No.24 1999).  2009 saw the introduction of a comprehensive recycling system, involving the installation of recycling stations in all RAK FTZ parks; the organisation of an Environmental Performance Card (EPC) seminar for its Industrial Park clients, in cooperation with the Ministry of Electricity & Water; and the implementation of an EHS penalty system to help monitor the environmental impact of the companies operating in its parks and deal with any issues before they become a major problem.   RAK FTZ is now home to many companies that share its commitment to the environment and specialise in “green business”, such as natural wastewater treatment, solar energy and environmental impact consultation.

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