Dubai, United Arab Emirates; September 24, 2014: The Gulf Petrochemicals & Chemicals Association (GPCA) announced today that it is set to roll out its third Waste Free Environment (WFE) campaign from February 22-26, 2015. The campaign aims to educate the public about responsible waste disposal and addresses challenges associated with plastic litter.
Launched by the GPCA in 2013, participants in the WFE include volunteers from across the Arabian Gulf. For 2015, the association will no longer be limiting the campaign to the region and will open up the initiative to other organizations across the world, through the affiliate offices and subsidiaries of GPCA member companies.
“A sustainable future can only be realized if people come together to find solutions to persistent environmental problems today,” said Dr. Abdulwahab Al- Sadoun, Secretary General, GPCA. “Partnerships like the WFE—which involve government stakeholders, businesses, educational institutions and the wider community—will be crucial in realizing this future.”
The announcement coincides with World Maritime Day, which is a global initiative focused on the importance of the marine environment. As a signatory of the United Nations “Declarations for Solutions on Marine Litter”, the WFE is a key component in the GPCA’s broader advocacy activities to encourage companies in the region to initiate environmentally responsible operations.
WFE2014 signaled a growth in both plastics waste collection and participation. With over 5,500 participants, more than double the number in 2013, joined forces in nine cities across the GCC region to clean up coastlines and desert areas of their cities. Volunteers included students from 71 schools and universities in the GCC. In total, more than 11.7 tons of waste was collected in a single day. Additionally, over 500 tons of waste collected over a week in three locations in Oman, while the initiative’s United Arab Emirates program recycled over 2.5 tons of waste.
“Education has been a key component in the success of this campaign”, added Dr. Sadoun. The initiative highlights the fact that plastic litter in the Gulf’s marine and desert environments is largely due to irresponsible disposal of plastics waste combined with poor waste management, a lack of regulatory framework and insufficient recycling infrastructure.
“The Waste Free Environment program seeks to not only clean up public spaces, but also to educate people about proper waste disposal and recycling,” explains Dr. Sadoun. “Rather than demonize plastic products, which are essential aspects to modern life, we should focus our efforts in reducing our consumption, reusing what we can and recycle whenever possible.”