Can UAE residents cut out plastic use?

Dubai: The proliferation of plastic in our everyday lives is a global problem. From small to big, most of our habits are connected with plastic and it is anybody’s guess if we can ever learn to adapt to a plastic-free lifestyle. Gulf News asks UAE residents if they can make the switch and how easy or difficult would that be.

Karmel Abourah, a Jordanian and a consultant by profession, said that he dreams of living in a plastic-free world. “But much as I tried to go green, I always go back to plastic as it is all around me. I feel bad whenever I read an article about the plastic footprint.”

Terming his efforts “a drop in the ocean”, Abourah believes governments and businesses need to take strict action to reduce plastic waste in people’s everyday lives. 
“[We need] affordable alternatives and to educate people more to say no to plastic. My daily routine includes at least four plastic water bottles, disposable plastic cups and dishes and my grocery comes in plastic bags. I really wish I can change this lifestyle.”

For Mohammad Aman Raffi, 30, a Pakistani expatriate, 30, taking his own cup for a coffee takeaway works. “Supermarkets have started the initiative of consumers buying reusable bags but I feel customers should be motivated with a points-based system so they would use more reusable bags. Takeaway [plastic] cups and plates at budget food and beverage eateries [are practical] for hygiene. I have a one-year-old and nine-month-old son who I can’t trust with glass, wood or sharp items, hence plastic is necessary.”

Alice Chandler, British and an assistant finance and operations manager, doubts her life would be as easy without disposable plastic. “Plastic bags are also a big part of daily life. For hygienic purposes, you are sometimes more comfortable using plastic cutlery particularly in an office environment and most restaurant takeaways provide plastic cutlery which saves time especially when you are on your lunch break because you don’t have to spend time washing them.”

Tayyaba Ahmad, a Canadian expat, said, “It would be very difficult to cut out plastic completely from our lives. In terms of the plastic items we use regularly, plastic bags are one thing that are difficult to eliminate completely, specially as they are reused at home for many purposes. I think I could do without some things but it’s hard to get rid of other everyday items. Also, disposable cutlery, cups, and plates are things we need and use when planning activities outside. I can’t imagine carrying non-disposable stuff around. When it comes to water bottles, I think we can do without them. They can easily be substituted with glass bottles.”


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