Posted on February 16, 2016

The local community, downstream industries, schools and universities in Qatar recently united on Wakra Beach for the regional Waste Free Environment (WFE) cleanup campaign. As part of the initiative, over 1,000 students participated in sustainability workshops and competitions aimed at promoting best practices related to proper waste disposal. The WFE campaign is an environmental awareness and anti-litter campaign launched by the Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA). The annual campaign aims to tackle some of the challenges associated with plastic litter.

Al Wakra Beach was chosen because of its proximity to Mesaieed Industrial City, the home of most of the downstream producing industries in Qatar. 18 outreach activities were conducted with schools, colleges and universities, highlighting the eagerness and fervor of educational institutes and the younger generations to participate in environmental activities. As evidence of the success of the campaign, the WFE witnessed a sharp rise in the number of volunteers, schools, universities, governmental agencies and supporting organizations that participated in the cleanup drive in Wakra Beach. All the participants expressed their strong commitment to preserve the environment and were mobilized towards one goal: shaping a sustainable future for our planet.

Discussing the aim of the campaign, Dr. Abdulwahab Al-Sadoun, Secretary General of the GPCA, said: “Our industry is the second largest manufacturing industry in this region and the products the chemical industry produces here in the Arabian Gulf, plastics in particular, contribute significantly to our quality of life, resource preservation and innovation. These products should be responsibly disposed of, either via recycling or energy recovery. This campaign provides us the opportunity to work alongside the community to show that littering our products is not acceptable and help spread knowledge about eco-efficient waste management in general.” He added, “At the end of the day, waste is not caused by plastic companies, but by people. Educating people on how to properly dispose of litter will empower individuals to take initiative in sustaining the longevity of their environment.”

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Dr. Mohammed Yousef Al-Mulla, Managing Director & CEO of Qatar Petrochemical Company (QAPCO), a pioneer in petrochemical production in the Middle East and WFE local liaison commented on the initiative by saying: “Plastic litter in any environment is unacceptable. It is our role as responsible corporate citizens and as individuals to take waste disposal seriously, because we are all part of the change. Together, by taking action, we can all make a difference in shaping a sustainable future. We believe the GPCA Waste Free Environment campaign can act as a real catalyst to propel waste disposal best practices across our community”.

Dr. Al-Mulla thanked all the participants who contributed to cleaning Wakra beach and he added, “The cleanup campaign in Qatar was a real success because all the stakeholders united and were mobilized towards the same goal: raising awareness about the proper disposal of waste. Raising awareness about the consequences of irresponsible waste disposal amongst the youth is one of the first steps towards shaping a sustainable and clean future.”

Mr. Abdulrahman Ali Al-Abdulla, CEO of Muntajat (Qatar Chemical and Petrochemical Marketing and Distribution Company Q.J.S.C), local liaison of the WFE, commended the GPCA for the efforts and great work put into the WFE initiative and said, “The campaign, which is now in its fourth edition, aims to raise awareness and educate the young generation on the importance of the responsible disposal of waste and keeping the environment litter free. At Muntajat we take great pride for being part of this important environmental initiative. Our participation in the WFE campaign comes in line with Muntajat’s dedication to the local community and our responsibility as a company in the chemical and petrochemical industry”. He also highlighted, “I thank every organization that supports GPCA in this great initiative and all the volunteers and students who joined hands to help us shape a cleaner future for Qatar. Every resident of Qatar plays a crucial role in protecting the natural environment of the country and only by acting together we can improve the state of our local environment”.

Since the launch of the GCC campaign in 2013, the WFE has grown in size, participation and collection. 13 cities in 9 countries are now engaged in the campaign. The 2016 edition of the campaign was launched with renewed enthusiasm in Qatar. The response from the local community has been extremely positive. In addition, cleanup events were organized at selected locations and awareness activities likewise took place in schools and universities to highlight the issues associated with improper waste disposal.

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Some of the main messages delivered were as follows: A large quantity of trash that we throw away everyday can actually be reused. Plastics are valuable materials and they should be recycled, instead of being thrown away. Recycling plastic products can conserve resources and reduce greenhouse emissions. Waste reduction is the most effective of the 3Rs; it means to reduce or lessen the amount of waste we generate by changing our habits.

Many institutions joined the WFE campaign in line with efforts to shape a sustainable future for the local community. The initiative was strongly supported by Al Wakra Municipality, the Ministry of Municipality and Environment, the Ministry of Interior – South Police, Lekhwiya Security Forces, the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, the Friends of the Environment Centre, the Protection and Social Rehabilitation Centre, the Civil Aviation Authority, Primary Healthcare Corporation and Al Wakra Hospital are also engaging in the initiative and offering their valued assistance.

Kahramaa, Amwaj, ExxonMobil, Total, Tasweeq, Qatar University, College of the North Atlantic-Qatar, and the Community College of Qatar have likewise offered their upmost support. Apart from Muntajat and QAPCO, Mesaieed Industrial City’s other main downstream entities, such as Qatar Fertilizer Company (QAFCO), QChem, Qatar Fuel Additives Company (QAFAC), Qatar Vinyl Company (QVC), Qatar Plastic Products Company (QPPC), Qatar Industrial Manufacturing Company (QIMC), and Qatofin Company Limited as well as Qatalum and Qatar Steel also played a pivotal role in the cleanup drive. Twyla is the official recycling partner.

The schools involved included Ali Ibn Abi Talib Preparatory School for Boys, Abdulrahman Bin Jassim Independent Primary School for Boys, Al Shorouk Model Independent School for Boys, Al Wukair Independent Primary School for Girls, Al Wakra Independent Primary School for Girls, Mesaieed Independent Primary and Preparatory School for Boys, the Scientific School for Boys, Mesaieed Primary School for Girls, the Philippine School in Doha.

The safety and well-being of all the participants during the beach cleanup were ensured, thanks to Al Wakra Hospital and its medical team. The support offered by the South Police Department has been tremendous as they secured the entire location. In addition, Lekhwiya Security Forces sent a team of professional divers in order to perform an underwater and shore clean-up, to retrieve discarded waste in the water.