Of the 4,076 respondents, 48% supported the practise of recycling plastics into new products, rather than resorting to conventional waste disposal. The survey further revealed that the majority of respondents expect government authorities and plastic manufacturers to take the lead in reducing the environmental impact caused by unmindful littering.
The respondents expect GCC authorities to promote more recycling in the region as well as running more educational and awareness campaigns. GPCA secretary-general Dr Abdulwahab Al Sadoun said: “The study’s findings confirm the fact that more collaboration and leadership from government and industry is needed to close the education gap.”
He added: “There are deep-rooted misconceptions around plastics we hope to address by working with government agencies and key stakeholders to influence the adoption and implementation of the most effective regulations and standards.”
Sustainable waste management
Craig Halgreen, vice-president, sustainability, Borouge and head of advocacy, plastics subcommittee, GPCA, said: “Building a sustainable and profitable plastics recycling industry that transforms our economic model froma linear to a circular economy will improve resource efficiency and enhance sustainable waste management.”
He explained: “Society continues to benefit from the convenience of plastic products due to their low carbon footprint across their lifecycle. However, as the plastics perception survey highlights, there is a growing need to increase awareness of and build more facilities for separating and recycling plastic waste. This is extremely important for the protection of our environment and wellbeing of society.”
Another outcome from the survey included harm to health being perceived by most as an issue caused by an increased littering or unmindful disposal of plastic material.
Diversion from landfills
Building on the survey results, Daker El Rabaya, managing director of waste recovery and processing at Bee’ah, the UAE’s leading integrated environmental and waste management company, said recycling is the solution to diverting away from landfills.
He highlighted the fact solutions like biodegradable plastic are not addressing the real issue and encourage unmindful littering which ends up in landfill and water streams. In addition, they complicate the recycling process and bring more harm to nature.