Awareness on government’s anti-plastic drives seems to be lowest among younger generation
Low level of awareness among UAE residents about the government’s anti-plastic initiatives is a cause of concern, a new study says.
The survey, conducted by YouGov, showed that despite the government’s nationwide anti-plastic drive this year, only two out of five people in the UAE said they are aware of government legislations about discouraging plastic use.
The awareness seems to be the lowest among the younger generation (18-24 years) where little over a third knew of such legislations, emphasising an urgent need to create more awareness about this issue, especially among this demographic.
The research conducted with a sample size of 1,017 respondents in the UAE during October also suggests that two out of three people in the UAE are concerned with excessive plastic waste leading to environmental degradation.
Plastic pollution is not just a hazard to public health but also a severe threat to the oceans and marine life. Recent reports show that 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic was produced in the UAE alone last year.
More than half (52 per cent) of UAE respondents showed great concern with the use of plastic in their city, especially those residing in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
Interestingly, a significant proportion of Asians (60 per cent) and those 40+ years (61 per cent) have expressed higher concerns over the indiscriminate use of plastic in their city.
Older generation more aware
The survey findings highlighted that once again, the older generation is more alarmed about environmental degradation than their younger counterparts (18-29 years old), with three quarters of respondents aged over 40 years pointing out their concern.
Plastics end up in the ocean and damage the marine environment. Close to two-third of respondents are concerned with excessive plastic waste leading to environmental degradation.
“The low awareness levels among the population when asked about government policies discouraging plastic use is however a matter of concern, said Kerry McLaren, Head of Data Services. “Not just the government, but companies, brands and the general public need to create awareness on preserving the environment and adapt a greener lifestyle.”
Green practice: The three R’s of plastic use
With regards to whether UAE residents follow the three R’s of plastic, the reduce, reuse and recycle formula to combat excessive plastic waste, the majority (83 per cent) believe reducing the use of plastics is the most ideal way to protect the environment.
Three quarters of the respondents claim to be re-using plastic as much as possible while 16 per cent completely disagreed to the re-using concept. The majority of respondents mentioned re-using plastic bags, with a sizeable proportion (close to 60 per cent) also re-using plastic bottles and takeaway containers.