The truth behind recycling in Abu Dhabi

Do you or do you know anybody that recycles? If so, you know that it takes effort and dedication to really make sure you separate your garbage. What if I told you that all that effort was going to waste? You might think you are recycling, being helpful to the community and environment by sectioning your garbage, but in reality, it’s all going to the same place. The truth behind recycling in Abu Dhabi is starting to rise as more and more fishy instances occur that simply don’t add up.

I first witnessed the sneaky recycling act while at home in a residential area known as Al Reef. My family and I would frequently recycle by putting recyclables into green bins and other garbage and waste into the black bins provided. On one particularly interesting garbage pick up day, I never expected to witness what I saw. I stood in the kitchen looking out the window as the garbage truck took both bins and dumped the garbage bags into the same stored area in the garbage truck. After that day I made a note to pay attention the next time the garbage truck came for pick up. The following pick up days I realized it was an ongoing thing. We think we are recycling but in reality, it’s all being brought to the same pile. 

I started telling people about what happened and to my surprise, it was happening elsewhere. Maya Gonzalez a senior here at GAA told me similar problems were occurring in other communities in Abu Dhabi such as AL Zeina and Muneera. She said “there are two garbage tubes where you choose to put your recycling into one, and waste garbage into another. However, those two separate tubes meet at the bottom and combine both contents”. Thus revealing what really happens to the recycled materials.

So what is the point of this article? Well, not only does it apply to residential communities in Abu Dhabi but these issues are also occurring right here in our very own school community. There have been frequent instances where the sectioned recycling bins all share the same garage bag but from the exterior, it looks as though you are separating your garbage. However, there are have been “improvements” by placing separate bags in the sectioned bins but how do we know if the garbage that is pickup doesn’t just take all the bags and put them in the same place anyway? What is the point of putting in the work of recycling if there is no recycling really happening? Is it all a facade to make Abu Dhabi look environmentally friendly for publicity purposes when in reality they are lying to their citizens? 

We need to put a stop to this issue and actually recycle. This way we can indeed be environmentally friendly instead of pretending.