Cleaning public spaces or community areas shouldn’t be a task limited to governing bodies or the cleaning authorities; keeping such surroundings clean should be every responsible citizen’s concern. In the UAE, this is becoming quite evident with many clean-up activities being organised by private groups, corporates and NGOs and is deservedly enjoying some media attention, too. For instance, last year, a national daily reported that on the occasion of ‘World Clean Up Day’ more than a 100 volunteers, including school children, conservationists and office workers, cleaned up the Umm Al Suqeim open beach in Dubai, collecting litter for recycling. Over 60 kg of on and off-shore rubbish was cleared from the beach and water.
Recycling has always been considered a vital part of the UAE’s waste management programme, and it goes without saying that developers play a crucial role in supporting such initiatives. Benoy Kurien, Group Chief Executive Officer, Al Hamra, says, “As a responsible corporate citizen, being involved in activities such as the beach clean-up underlines our commitment to promoting a clean environment.” Al Hamra is a Ras Al Khaimah-based real estate development and investment company, which has executed several CSR activities this year including a blood donation campaign held at Al Hamra Mall in March. In January, over 300 volunteers from the local community, as well as Al Hamra staff members, helped to collect a total of 750 kgs of assorted garbage, including paper, plastic and cans, from the public beach at Al Hamra Village.
“As a luxury location, providing a tranquil environment to thousands of residents and visitors, we are fully committed to protecting the environment and are supporting the community to do the same,” adds Kurien. The group in association with RAK Waste Management supports the ‘My Emirate My Responsibility’ campaign that promotes recycling for a better life. “Recycling bins are also located across our buildings, in addition to awareness posters. On the other hand, coloured recycling bags are also distributed amongst our community members.”
Best Practices & Sustainability
Talking about the best practices followed, and the eco-friendly practices adhered to while maintaining or cleaning spaces Kurien avers that maintenance and cleaning activities are based on customised industry leading standards for the region. He adds, “There are standard operating procedures, which include eco-friendly aspects. These are not additional but an integral part of the procedure and as such are measured against a set of KPIs for each activity.” Throughout the year the company supports several CSR initiatives at both local and national level. “This is part of our organisational philosophy of how a responsible corporate citizen can contribute to enhancing the lives of all segments of the community. For us, CSR is not just about charitable work; it is part of a culture that encompasses the community, the environment and our people. We support all the national initiatives, including the focus on sustainable development by promoting energy and water use efficiency, as well as year-round initiatives such as the Year of Tolerance that the UAE is celebrating this year,” explains Kurien. Apart from the recent blood donation campaign and beach clean-up activity Al Hamra also sponsored RAK Fine Arts Festival organised by Al Qasimi Foundation and also supports the RAK beautifying campaign by hiring local and international artists to create Graffiti Art on the fence surrounding Al Jazeera Public Beach. “There will also be a Ramadan charity wall as well as a ‘clothes and food collection drive’ and the distribution of boxes containing essential goods to workers.” “Our malls will organise a wall of arts to support artists, specially people of determination. We are also sponsoring the Wadi Marathon in association with Jalilah Foundation,” concludes Kurien.