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Plastic bags cause pollution crisis, camel deaths in UAE deserts

Abu Dhabi - United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan is supporting a desert clean-up day on January 20 and an expanded desert ecosystem conservation campaign, local and industry news media reported.
According to Gulfnews.com and ConstructionWeekOnline.com, Shaikh Abdullah expressed he would like to participate in the clean-up, and called upon the nation's citizens to support the ongoing "Make UAE Plastic-Bag Free" campaign that was launched in February 2011 by the Environmental Agency-Abu Dhabi (EAD) and the Center for Waster Management-Abu Dhabi in support of the 2009 UAE Ministry of Environment and Water initiative to curtail use of plastic bags by 2013.
Gulfnews.com reported 50 percent of UAE camel deaths happen because the animals eat the mostly tourism-generated lightweight, long-lasting plastic bags that blow around the desert, mistaking the trash for food, according to the EAD, and ConstructionWeekOnline.com reported the Center for Waste Management claimed 19 percent of Abu Dhabi city's waste is plastic that the wind blows into beach, desert and forest environments.
EAD secretary-general Razan Khalifa Al MubarakIt told Gulfnews.com that tourism industry support for conservation efforts is crucial in preserving the country's natural heritage that many businesses advertise and depend upon.
To mark National Environment Day this February, the EAD will be joining with more partners and taking the awareness and action campaign urging the phase-out of plastic bags and switch to reusable or biodegradable containers into more emirate malls, ConstructionWeekOnline.com reported.
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