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The water bottle dilemma.

Summary: Excessive usage of plastic water bottles could be curbed with a few simple measures

By Pranaav Mahendra Kumar

The excessive usage of water bottles in the UAE is a quandary of great magnitude, yet it is baffling as to how oblivious our society has become to one of the most harmful sources of environmental damage in existence. Access to clean drinking water is an important component in any developing country, but we often find the most common source to quench our thirst is packaged within plastic bottles that comprise chemicals that are harmful to the environment. They pose a threat, especially, to many animals. It is a commonly known fact that water bottles take hundreds of years to biodegrade, which brings to light the low sustainability factor of this widely-used product.

A majority of water bottle users throw away their bottle after one use; ultimately aiding in the contamination of our environment. Despite initiatives taken by the UAE government to encourage recycling, garbage bins overflowing with empty plastic bottles continue to be a common sight.

As individuals, we require a paradigm shift of great proportions to adhere to a more environmentally sustainable lifestyle. Unlike countries such as the US and Canada, whose residents drink water directly from their taps, people in the UAE fear that this practice would be unwise, due to myths like drinking tap water leads to hair loss. Researchers state that tap water is safe to drink at the time of dispatch; however the tanks in which the water is stored, must be cleaned regularly to ensure that it remains unpolluted. With uncertainty surrounding the maintenance of these tanks, many residents opt to purchase water bottles instead.

The authorities should make sure that these tanks are cleaned adequately so that people can ultimately transition into the habit of filling up a reusable bottle with tap water. This would ultimately aid in reducing the number of water bottles that plague our environment, and help the country play its part in maintaining sustainability. The authorities could also implement strict regulations to ensure that residential buildings construct a recycling chute for tenants to access, so that waste management could be conducted more efficiently. We must raise awareness regarding proper waste disposal techniques, so that residents can be informed of eco-friendly practices. If these measures do take place, UAE residents would be obliged to reduce their usage of water bottles, and ultimately eliminate the need to purchase plastic water bottles.

Those who continue to use water bottles must bear in mind that the authorities have implemented multiple recycling plants. We should make a united effort to utilise them. If we can conform to environmentally beneficial practices regarding the usage of plastic bottles in the UAE, residents would be able to pave a path of sustainability for future generations.

- The reader is a 16-year-old student based in Ontario, Canada.

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Article Details
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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:7UNIT
Date:Sep 2, 2017
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