WAR on plastic waste during Ashoora will continue this year in the Capital Governorate, as two tonnes were collected from Manama alone last year.
Capital Trustees Authority director general Shuwaqia Humaidan yesterday said that the target was to reduce general waste during the Ashoora festivities by at least 50 tonnes across the entire governorate over the course of 10 days.
She said last year’s general waste reached up to 317 tonnes, which was down by 83 tonnes from 400 tonnes in 2016.
Ms Humaidan was speaking during the opening of the Manama Processions Area Municipal Centre, where the new edition of the ‘Do It Right’ campaign was also launched to raise awareness about cleanliness.
“It is good that people are shifting to cleaner utensils to provide food in, but again the amount of plastic consumed is a lot,” said Ms Humaidan.
“We collected two tonnes from Manama only in 10 days from the total waste we collect in Ashoora and that was high too with 317 tonnes collected across all areas – this needs to drop by at least 50 tonnes.
“Plastic waste remains a problem and we are studying solutions on how to better utilise it.”
She added that 15 special boxes have been set up in Manama for plastic collection in co-ordination with waste management firm Gulf City Cleaning Company (GCCC), which covers both the Capital and Muharraq governorates.
Ma’atams in Manama have also been instructed to present a five-minute lecture on recycling prior to their sermons under the campaign “Ashoora… Awareness and Recycling”.
“Usage of plastic is going in the wrong direction and our aim is to tackle it, and through people’s awareness we could win the war,” said Ms Humaidan.
“Clergymen will give a five-minute lecture on recycling and the issue of plastics prior to their sermons, which will ensure that we are getting people’s attention.
“Special screens on combating plastics have also been set up across the processions routes in Manama to raise public awareness.
“The centre will also be operating round the clock with 300 cleaners and 12 inspectors present, along with seven collection trucks, three automatic cleaning machines and 250 bins available.”
Thousands of people are expected to take part in events marking Ashoora until next Thursday, which commemorates the death anniversary of Imam Hussain, grandson of Prophet Mohammed.
GCCC public relations executive Hisham Al Haddad said the biggest challenge facing cleaners was plastic waste.
“Our biggest problem is plastic because it is the most difficult material to dispose of or recycle,” he said.
“A single plastic bag can take up to 1,000 years to degrade.
“It is a clear biohazard that unfortunately we are being forced to deal with.
“Whatever we collect we plan to distribute among artists to use for artwork, we have not decided on the concept or mechanism, but we are working on it.”
Meanwhile, Jaffari Waqf (Endowment) Directorate yesterday provided Imdad Charity Society with 100,000 disposal aluminium packs as a first batch to collect food from stalls and ma’atams.
“We will provide a total of one million packs for food collection over the course of Ashoora,” said directorate board chairman Shaikh Abdulmohsin Al Asfoor.