Students and divers collect waste from Al Mamzar Beach area as part of SMD’s ‘Because We Care’ initiative
SHARJAH, FEB 16, 2015: Students from schools across Sharjah swapped their textbooks for garbage bags and gloves today and collected litter from the shoreline around Al Mamzar Beach.
They were joined by two teams of divers from Sharjah Police Rescue Unit and Sharjah Aquarium who gathered discarded waste from the seabed during the Marine Environment Clean-Up, organised by the Sharjah Museums Department (SMD) as part of its Because We Care social responsibility initiative.
The annual beach clean-up aims to highlight the importance of protecting Sharjah’s marine environment by highlighting the amount and types of waste people discard around the coast-line.
“It’s amazing just how much waste we find each year, and it really shows that we need to change the public’s mentality,” said Rashid Al Shamsi, SMD’s Acting Curator of Sharjah Aquarium. “Today’s beach clean-up is about educating the next generation that it’s wrong to use our precious coastline as a place to discard of garbage and unwanted items.
“Our hope is that they take away with them an understanding of how harmful all this waste is to the marine environment, and spread the word by talking to their friends and families.”
About 120 students, supervised by a small team of community volunteers, took part in the clean-up. As they scoured the shoreline, divers from Sharjah Aquarium and Sharjah Police Rescue Unit searched the seabed
A crane was on hand to help the diving teams lift any particularly heavy submerged items. In previous years, they have recovered objects including sofas, chairs and even an abandoned boat.
All the waste collected during today’s search will be weighed and sent for recycling or disposal by Bee’ah, the waste management company. Last year’s clean-up uncovered an incredible five tons and 150 kilograms of waste from the area around Kalba Port.
The students also got the chance to take part in recycling workshops and an educational ‘Awareness Gallery’ hosted on-site.
The Marine Environment Clean-Up was organised by SMD and Sharjah Aquarium in cooperation with several partners including the Ministry of Environment and Water, the Sharjah Environment and Natural Reserves Authority, Sharjah Educational Zone and the ‘Happiest Nation’ Volunteering Team, Sharjah Police, Sharjah Civil Defense and Emirates Diving Centre.
Manal Ataya, Director General of the SMD, said: “We are proud to once again be working with our partners to provide this successful event promoting a responsible attitude toward the marine eco-system.
“At the Sharjah Museums Department, we believe our role as guardians of Sharjah’s heritage starts with preserving our natural environment.
“Education is part of the solution, and through our Because We Care campaign we try to foster a strong sense of social and environmental responsibility among citizens, particularly younger members of the community.
“Since launching Because We Care in 2009, we have staged almost 200 events and projects aimed at promoting responsible citizenship.”