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Story | Education
26 October 2021

QAD students urge community to take action against plastic pollution crisis

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QAD students urge community to take action against plastic pollution crisis

Group from QF school delivers talk at QGBC’s Qatar Sustainability Week

Students from Qatar Academy Doha urged members of the community to reduce their plastic consumption by detailing their devastating effects on the world during the second day of Qatar Sustainability Week 2021.

“Just two years ago, as a group of passionate young leaders, we decided to make an environmental change,” said Khalid Al Shaibei, a student from QAD – part of Qatar Foundation’s (QF) Pre-University Education – during a talk held in Msheireb Downtown Doha. “Our aim was not only to raise awareness of the effects of plastic waste, but also to promote the concept of sustainability in our society.”

While we are making our lives easier, we are ruining, and sometimes shortening, the lives of many creatures that deserve to thrive on earth as much as we do

Lena Al-Khater

Lena Al-Khater, also a QAD student, explained that during their work on the campaign – titled Activists in Action – they learned that around eight million tons of plastic end up in oceans every year, causing severe damage to marine life and increasing the risk of extinction of aquatic animals.

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QAD’s Activists in Action group speaking at Qatar Sustainability Week.

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“Plastic bags are in fact a great invention, they make our life easier – they’re lightweight, waterproof, and easy to carry around – making them very valuable and hard to give up. However, these exact features are what makes them a bigger problem to the environment, because while we are making our lives easier, we are ruining, and sometimes shortening, the lives of many creatures that deserve to thrive on earth as much as we do,” Al-Khater said.

The average time that a plastic bag is used for is only 12 minutes, but they can last in the environment for hundreds of years before decomposing. There are many alternatives to plastic bags, such as reusable and biodegradable bags, and – urging people to look for solutions – she said: “Let's do something about it.”

For a better tomorrow, we need to build resilience today.

Rawda Al Qassabi

“For a better tomorrow we need to build resilience today,” said Rawda Al Qassabi, also a QAD student, explaining that reliance on single-use plastics dramatically increased during COVID-19, and this meant it was hard for the students to stay motivated.

“But since the beginning of our campaign, we have been wonderfully supported by our school, Qatar Academy Doha, and the wider community, so we persevered and created an initiative using social media. We launched an online petition and demonstrated that despite the challenges we faced, we only became stronger as leaders,” Al Qassabi said.

Participation in such events is very important because we are the future, and we have to start raising awareness or start taking action

Al-Anoud Al-Hitmi

Al-Anoud Al-Hitmi, another member of Activists in Action, explained how the group was delighted to be given the opportunity to speak about the importance of banning single-use plastics during Qatar Sustainability Week 2021 – an initiative of Qatar Green Building Council, and member of QF.

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For the past two years, the group has been campaigning to ban plastic bags in Qatar.

“When we decided to start this campaign, Activists in Action, I never knew that that we could reach this many people. Participation in such events is very important because we are the future, and we have to start raising awareness or start taking action,” she said.

Qatar Sustainability Week 2021 will wrap up on October 30. For more information, please visit: www.qatargbc.org

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