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Education is key to achieving Abu Dhabi's recycling goals

ABU DHABI // Parents have a responsibility to educate their children about separating recyclable material, says Abu Dhabi’s centre for waste management.

Tadweer has provided more than 200,000 black and green bins across the emirate to make separation easy and feasible for everyone.

Mohammed Sadique, an Indian resident of Al Zahiya, is one father who has taken up the challenge.

“I have two children, aged 7 and 12. They are taught in their school about waste and recycling and we also carry that message forward at home and explain to them where to discard waste,” Mr Sadique said.

“I have two separate small bins at home – black and green – and I told my kids to drop paper, glass, cans and plastics in green and discarded foodstuff in the black one.”

He said it was easy to make excuses and blame others but that families had to start recycling for a better and greener future.

Mr Sadique’s system means the two sets of rubbish bags can be dropped in recyclable and non-recyclable bins with a minimum of fuss.

Tadweer officials said that waste segregation at its source, whether in homes or commercial outlets, was essential.

“The major challenge that we are facing is the public’s non-compliance to segregating, particularly in residential buildings and commercial areas,” the centre said. But Tadweer said compliance rate was increasing gradually each year as public awareness increased.

“The awareness activities are always being held throughout the year, where Tadweer stressed on the level of source segregation and its benefits to environmental sustainability,” a Tadweer spokesman said.

But some Abu Dhabi residents said authorities could do more to encourage recycling, because many buildings did not have segregated waste chutes. Saeed Kheirallah, an Egyptian resident in Al Khalidiya, said that recycling was “a challenging task for all of us”.

“My building has a waste chute and we drop all kind of waste in that,” he said. “We have only the option – to drop the waste in the waste chute available on each floor.

“If we separate waste at home, where do we drop it? The family can’t carry waste to the bins.”

While Tadweer has its own facilities for sorting waste and recycling, more residents are using the black and green bins in front of villas.

Yousuf Abdullah, an Emirati resident in Madinat Zayed, said his family had told their maids to separate waste at home and drop it in the black and green bins.

“Similarly, we have asked our children to avoid throwing stuff randomly but to drop it in designated bins. If we don’t do this, who will do it?” Mr Abdullah said. “It’s about our better, cleaner and greener future.”

He said cafes and restaurants should be monitored to see whether they followed waste-disposal instructions.

Waste can be seen overflowing and unseparated in black and green bins in areas of the city.

Bangladeshi Shuheil Saggar, a worker at a restaurant on Zayed the First Street who was emptying rubbish into a bin, said he and his colleagues did not separate waste.

“We dump waste in which­ever one we find empty,” he said. “When we come to empty our bins, if the black ones are full then where do we throw it?”

Mr Saggar said they placed plastic and tin items beside the bins and discarded food inside.

Pakistani Tayyab Shah said it was difficult to teach people who are from countries without recycling systems.

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The National