Abu Dhabi, January 27, 2018: More than 957 kilograms of marine debris waste were collected in just four hours at the underwater clean-up campaign organised by the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) in coordination with the Emirates Diving Association (EDA), and other partners at the Mina Port near the Fishermen's Wharf. Professional divers volunteered from several governmental and private entities, in addition to a number of licensed divers from different parts of the country participated in collecting the marine debris in the water.
The campaign is one of a series of clean-up campaigns planned to be organised by EAD under the theme 'Together We Make The Difference' in 2018 to mark the "Year of Zayed", to clean beaches, diving sites, deserts and other habitats in different locations of Abu Dhabi Emirate to ensure the environment is safe, clean and healthy and to promote environmental awareness.
HE Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, Secretary General of EAD, said: "This initiative is one of the many other initiatives we are launching this year, to commemorate the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan (may God have mercy upon him), the founding father of the UAE, and emphasise the principles he advocated to protect the environment and natural heritage that is an important part of the UAE and the lives of its citizens and residents ".
"This campaign will not be the last but there are other campaigns to be organised throughout the year to protect our diverse ecosystem – in the sea, the air, and the land – safe havens to live and thrive." She added.
HE Al Mubarak noted: "The Abu Dhabi Emirate has a wonderful mix of geological nature and valuable natural habitat and fragile species in both land and sea, which need protection. Saving our environment and fulfilling our obligations to the natural environment must be the responsibility of all of us, at all levels of society to maintain the beauty of the Emirate's beautiful beaches, and cultural and heritage assets".
Commenting on the underwater campaign, Dr. Sheikha Salem Al Dhaheri, Executive Director of Terrestrial and Marine Biodiversity Sector said: "Choosing the Fishermen's Wharf to kick off our series of clean-up campaigns was to highlight the importance of maintaining the cleanliness of our marine environment and increase public awareness about the negative impacts of marine debris on one's health and that of our wildlife"
"She emphasised the urgent need to take action and keep beaches and diving sites clear of marine debris to preserve, conserve and enhance the marine ecosystem for future generations. The message we are trying to pass is that marine debris is unsightly, but more importantly it poses a potential threat to the health of humans and marine flora and fauna. Toxic materials can inhibit normal growth and reproduction, or even kill marine animals" Dr. Shaikha added.
The clean-up campaign began at 7:30 am, continued for 4 hours at the Mina Port near the Fishermen's Wharf, and continued until 11:30 a.m. The area was cleared of marine debris and litter which otherwise would end up in the sea harming the UAE's fragile biodiversity and affecting swimmers and fishermen's livelihoods.
Ahead of the clean-up, participants were given the necessary information and diving rules and conditions, as well as a detailed explanation of how to collect data on waste collected.
Over 50 divers who participated in the four-hour campaign ended with the removal of huge pile of debris from the seabed in fishing area. Overall, an estimated 957 kgs of plastic bottles, aluminum cans, food wrapper containers, abandoned fishing lines, construction materials and many other marine debris were picked up.
The campaign was organised in cooperation with a number of government and private entities including Critical Infrastructure and Coastal Protection Authority- CICPA, who provided boats to transport the divers involved in the campaign, as well as securing the water area. In addition, the Center of Waste Management – Abu Dhabi (Tadweer) helped taking away the garbage to see what could be suitable for recycling. The Abu Dhabi Cooperative Society for Fishermen also participated in the campaign to raise awareness among fishermen. In addition, Abu Dhabi Ports, Abu Dhabi City Municipality (ADM), Department of Urban Planning and Municipalities, Abu Dhabi Police-Traffic & Patrol Directorate and NMC Speciality Hospital also participated in supporting this campaign.