My name is Amanda Rushforth, and I’m a lover of the oceans and a fervent supporter of their preservation. I had worked with Natalie Banks, a fellow ocean warrior and the founder of Azraq, a volunteer-run not-for-profit entity in the UAE for years in an unofficial capacity, before joining the organization as a member of the Board of Directors in January 2020. Founded in September 2018, Azraq, which is registered with the Community Development Authority, has been on the front lines of ocean conservation in the United Arab Emirates with exceptional groundwork and education of the community, actively involved in beach and ocean clean-ups and mangrove tree planting days as a part of the organization’s fight for cleaner oceans. I believe that Azraq has the ability to become the leading authority on marine conservation in the region, providing credible commitments that bring about real change. I work closely with the team to help with promotion through social media, as well as engaging with local ambassadors and encouraging and challenges perceptions through local talks and webinars.
It’s going to be nearly impossible in this day and age to avoid plastics altogether and they do of course have great uses, especially in medical situations, but you can actively choose to lose single use plastics from your daily lifestyle. I always carry my recyclable coffee cups and water bottles with me, in and around Dubai on a daily basis. I always have a fold up recycled bag in my handbag for last minute shopping excursions (both food and fashion) and I will refuse plastic cutlery / straws with every meal or food delivery for example.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
1) Say no to single use plastic (straws/bags/bottles/cutlery etc)
2) Go around your kitchen & bathroom and count the plastic bottles (it’ll really help to open you eyes here)
3) Choose a water filter in your home (Liquid of Life) and remove plastic bottles from your shopping lists.
4) Choose new clothes with a conscience – look at the label and actively choose natural only fibers – everything else will end up shedding plastic directly into the oceans (and often loosing integrity as an item of clothing too).
5) Buy a Cora ball from Azraq to add to your washing machine which will catch all these microplastics in the wash and reduce your plastic footprint.
The hardest element to go plastic free from are kitchen supplies, but look at places where you can refill bottles and choose bio plastic container options.