Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Designated campsites for desert-goers

The Gulf Today, 22 Jan 2010

The Dubai Hobbies Club (DHC) hosted a group of students of Al Sufouh Girls Secondary School as part of its awareness and entertainment activities for 2010.
The desert environment cleaning campaign launched on Jan.1, with the participation of the UAE Ministry of Environment and Water (MoEW) and Dubai Municipality's (DM) environment and waste management departments, will last until Mar.3.
As it is the desert safari season in the UAE, desert-goers are advised to utilise designated camping sites set up in the desert. The environment ministry is creating sustainable tourism activities in the desert, preserving its environment and wildlife.
Pollution concern
Saif Mohammed Al Shara'a, Executive Director for Water Resources and Nature Conservation at the MoEW, said, "The ministry targets to tackle the alarming issues of desert pollution. This it aims to do by bringing into focus the dangers various sorts of left-over garbage - including plastic bottles and bags piled up in the desert - poses a fatal threat to camels, birds and other wildlife species."
"The MoEW set up a special department at the beginning of this year to implement the strategy of introducing the designated desert camping sites in various parts of the country. Our plans will provide the highest standards of protection to animals," he added.
Visit programme
The DHC visit programme included a number of team games focused on strengthening teamwork and cooperation among individual students, as well as a number of individual sports and competitions.
Environmental awareness activities were included in the programme with the aim of promoting practices for sustainable environmental development among students for the welfare of the current and future generations.
Arif Bin Ali Al Abbar, Managing Director of the Hobbies Club, said the responsibility to protect the natural resources of the communities in which they live, should be shared among the younger generations.
"It's aimed at protecting the wild habitat, guiding the behaviour of the society to preserve it, safety of the society and the protection of the environment in which we live," he added.
Awareness drive
A spokesperson of the DM said that the campaign will educate desert visitors on the importance of preserving its environment, as well as the best ways to maintain the cleanliness of the place, besides spending leisure time the best way, especially during the holidays.
"Leaflets will be distributed among the desert visitors who are requested to use designated environment camps set up at the site of the club with the participation from all nationalities, but with a focus on nationals," he added.
"A dedicated team of horsemen will be formed to make the rounds among the visitors, and invite the public to visit the camp environment to identify the best methods of camping," said the DM official.
According to him, the Dubai Municipality has developed regulations and legislation to protect the health of the individuals and the environment as well as providing effective services to monitor the establishments in the Emirate.
According to Al Shara'a, "The desert has become a dumping site. Birds die from eating trash. Recently, about 25kilogrammes of plastic was found from the stomach of some dead camels."
"Plastic trash can quickly kill the animals, as it blocks their intestines. It can kill when it releases its toxins or the animals starve to death. Skin, organs and bones will disappear but the plastic in the stomach will remain for hundreds of years," he noted.

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