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KT for good: Compost your organic waste at home in UAE

Sharjah set up municipal waste management company Bee’ah (the Arabic word for environment) in 2007 in the form of a public-private partnership. The amount of waste in the UAE has increased tremendously in the last decade. Most of the waste ends up in municipal landfills or dump sites, where organic waste generates a large amount…

KT for good: Compost your organic waste at home in UAE

Sharjah set up municipal waste management company Bee’ah (the Arabic word for environment) in 2007 in the form of a public-private partnership.

The amount of waste in the UAE has increased tremendously in the last decade. Most of the waste ends up in municipal landfills or dump sites, where organic waste generates a large amount of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Currently, little of the waste is burnt and the rate of municipal waste recycling has been rapidly rising.

Can you re-use organic waste? 

With all the organic waste that is generated in households, gardening experts and practitioners have said residents can use leftover plant and vegetable waste to grow their own vegetable and fruit garden at home, using sustainable agricultural practices. Organic farming expert Sudheesh Guruvayoor has successfully created a paddy and wheat field behind his home in Sharjah.

Sudheesh’s rice cultivation attempt in 2014 was supported by his then employer, the Sharjah Electrical and Water Authority. In 2016, he opened up his paddy field to students from three schools for their first rice harvest festival.

Sudheesh swears by using natural composting materials. He said: “You can grow a drumstick plant using a bucket with holes in them. Also, commercial leafy greens have a lot of pesticides in them. It is better to grow them at home.”

Leena Maniyath, a school teacher at Sunrise English Private School, Abu Dhabi, said her school started a campaign on smart waste management in 2018. “Students collected waste from their homes and their communities on a regular basis. These were placed into a machine, which converts waste to manure within a few hours.” The manure is utilised in the school’s organic farm. The produce is sold to parents during open house meetings and the rest is given to Al Ain farms through a waste management initiative from Masdar City. She explained: “We bought the machine for the school in April 2018. The machine converts the waste from the school canteen and from homes into organic compost with minimal electricity consumption.”

Waste management in Dubai and Sharjah

The Dubai Municipality’s Waste Management Department prepared the Dubai Integrated Waste Management Master Plan in 2012, with an aim to reduce the amount of waste being sent to the landfills to zero in 20 years.

The authority announced it will establish the largest plant in the Middle East to convert solid waste into energy at a cost of Dh2 billion in the Warsan district. The move also comes in line with the National Agenda to reduce the landfill by 75 per cent by 2021, in addition to protecting the environment from methane gas emitted by the landfill.

Sharjah set up municipal waste management company Bee’ah (the Arabic word for environment) in 2007 in the form of a public-private partnership. In October 2011, Sharjah announced an ambitious plan for 100 per cent landfill diversion by 2015. To attain this goal, Bee’ah developed a state-of-the-art waste management centre to process and recycle waste.

According to an official statement from the company, “In 2012, the company introduced two-stream waste collection and a new tipping fee structure to incentivise waste reduction and to closely regulate landfill contents. Improved blue and green coloured, odour-proof bins have been deployed across the emirate.”

Tips and tricks  for the #FoodSoldier in you

Throughout the course of our campaign, Khaleej Times will reveal three food conservation tips and tricks every day. Follow these to become the number one #FoodSoldier

1-Quickly measure portions: A big chunk of household food waste arises as we prepare way more than we can eat.  For things like rice, pasta and cereals, having a simple measuring cup or scale that takes five seconds can do wonders to reduce ‘plate waste’. If you’re still feeling peckish, add a little something to the meal to feel full, so experimenting with smaller portions is a good pro tip.

2-Shop groceries online: The closer you get to the checkout, the more sweets and treats you see.  Supermarkets are great at convincing you to buy food you don’t need or isn’t good for you. Shopping while hungry is a big no-no. Thanks to the Internet, grocery shopping can be a breeze, helping you buy food you really need. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, however, giving it a shot reduces portion sizes and the big bill at the end of shopping. 

3-Upcycle your scraps: Stale bread plus garlic equals garlic bread. Old bananas make smoothies and cakes. When you have time, grab any food that looks like it is going to be wasted soon.  Put it on your kitchen bench, and invent a new meal. You will amaze yourself!

dhanusha@khaleejtimes.com

Dhanusha Gokulan

Originally from India, Dhanusha Gokulan has been working as a journalist for 10 years. She has a keen interest in writing about issues that plague the common person, and will never turn down a human interest story. She completed her Bachelor in Arts in Journalism, Economics, and English Literature from Mangalore University in 2008. In her spare time, she dabbles with some singing/songwriting, loves travelling, and Audible is her favourite mobile application. Tweet at her @wordjunkie88

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Woman demands divorce from husband over PUBG game

The case came to light when she called the 181 Abhayam women helpline seeking help to get divorce. Online game PUBG (PlayerUnknown Battleground) has taken the world by storm and has spawned myriad situations and new highs in addiction. Now take the recent case of this Ahmedabad woman, all of 19 and married with a…

Woman demands divorce from husband over PUBG game

The case came to light when she called the 181 Abhayam women helpline seeking help to get divorce.

Online game PUBG (PlayerUnknown Battleground) has taken the world by storm and has spawned myriad situations and new highs in addiction.

Now take the recent case of this Ahmedabad woman, all of 19 and married with a year-old baby, who wants divorce from her husband, not because of any domestic feud or discord, but because of her immense indulgence in PUBG.

The case came to light when she called the 181 Abhayam women helpline seeking help to get divorce.

However, she did not mention this in the first place. She wanted to be lodged at a women’s observation home, away from her family and her parents, so that she could play at leisure with her gaming partner.

“The girl called 181 and told us that she wants to be at a women’s observation home as it is not working out with her husband nor she wanted to go to her parents’ home as they had taken away her cell phone,” says Falguni Patel, Coordinator at Abhayam.

“When we told her that she won’t be allowed to use her phone or to go out from observation home since it is supposed to be for the protection of women, she dropped the idea. Then she sought help to reach her friend, who she revealed much later during the counselling session, was her PUBG gaming partner whom she came into contact while playing the game,” Falguni Patel told IANS.

Her husband did not like her obsession with the game and refused to let her play, which caused tension between them and she decided to leave her husband and went to her parents. Even they didn’t like her addiction and took away her mobile phone.

Patel said the counsellors explained to her not to take such crucial decisions in a rush, just for the sake of a game as her marriage of two years, as well as the life of her child, was at stake.

“Our counsellors assured her to help her arrive at a proper matured decision, making her realize the future uncertainties and consequences since they encounter such cases often,” she added.

“During four hours of counselling, we advised her to give her husband and marriage a second chance. She agreed to it and we gave her a unique ID number for 181 helpline so that we could identify the case quickly and work accordingly, but she has not made any such attempt,” Falguni Patel said.

“Our counsellors also informed her parents and recommended that she needed psychological assistance to get over her addiction,” she added. Patel said this was the second case of a girl addicted to PUBG.

PUBG is an online multi-player battle royale game (available free on mobile platforms) developed and published by PUBG Corporation, a subsidiary of South Korean video game company Bluehole.

The game has been banned in Nepal, Iraq and some parts of India after reports of the adverse health impact on the players who played it for long periods.

 

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Five-year-old undergoes urethra corrective surgery in UAE

The three-hour surgery was done on April 7 and the patient is currently under recovery. A corrective surgery has been performed on a five-year-old child to put the urethra in its proper place. “The surgery should have been done earlier at least at the age of a year-and-half,” said Dr Muthanna Alrawi, consultant Urologist at…

Five-year-old undergoes urethra corrective surgery in UAE

The three-hour surgery was done on April 7 and the patient is currently under recovery.

A corrective surgery has been performed on a five-year-old child to put the urethra in its proper place.

“The surgery should have been done earlier at least at the age of a year-and-half,” said Dr Muthanna Alrawi, consultant Urologist at Canadian Specialist Hospital, who performed the required corrective surgery.

Simon (name changed) suffered from a congenital defect called Hypospadias- the opening of the urethra is on the underside of the penis instead of at the tip. The urethra is the tube through which urine drains from your bladder and exits your body.

The three-hour surgery was done on April 7 and the patient is currently under recovery.

“It is like a delicate plastic surgery where we had to create a new channel so that the child can pass urine easily,” said the doctor while speaking to Khaleej Times.

The occurrence of this condition is rare – one in 250 males – and the condition ranges from mild to severe. “This child’s case was moderate to severe,” said Dr Alrawi.

He also said that if the condition is not corrected, it can have a negative effect on the health of the person. “In the long run, urination could become difficult, there is a chance of developing infection (UTI), and it also affects male fertility,” he added.

The doctor also said that he did not see many such cases in the UAE.

“We need to raise awareness among parents, especially if they notice that the child has one testis which could mean gender assessment needs to be done,” said Dr Alrawi.

Dr Alrawi said that extra care is needed after the surgery. “It will take up to six months for full recovery,” he said.

The mother of the child Sunshine Esguerra said that he was slowly recovering. “We were told of his condition upon his birth,” she said.

“During yearly check-ups, doctors said that the surgery should be done when he would turn seven until Dr Alrawi told us that it was already too late,” said Sunshine.

She said though Simon did not have any pain earlier, it was still a defect that needed to be corrected else problems could arise later.

asmaalizain@khaleejtimes.com

Asma Ali Zain

Associated with KT for 15 years. Covers health issues, Pakistan community, human interest stories as well as general topics for daily news or features.

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104 drug users spared criminal charges, rehabilitated in Dubai in 2018

The police realise that these young people can be saved before they become addicted. A total of 104 young drug users were provided rehabilitation in 2018 by the Dubai Police and no criminal charges were registered against them – most being first-time offenders. Major General Abdullah Khalifa Al Marri, commander-in-chief of the Dubai Police, said…

104 drug users spared criminal charges, rehabilitated in Dubai in 2018

The police realise that these young people can be saved before they become addicted.

A total of 104 young drug users were provided rehabilitation in 2018 by the Dubai Police and no criminal charges were registered against them – most being first-time offenders.

Major General Abdullah Khalifa Al Marri, commander-in-chief of the Dubai Police, said that it takes into account the humanitarian and social aspect of certain cases and goes soft on young people who are caught taking drugs for the first time.

He said that police try to give them another chance so they can benefit from Article 43 of the Anti-Narcotics Act, which exempts drug users – who voluntarily approach police, or are reported by their family or friends – from legal accountability. He added that those found to be victims of circumstances are given relief from punishment and rehabilitated.

The police realise that these young people can be saved before they become addicted, he pointed out. They are referred to specialised drug treatment and rehabilitation centers, and their cases are followed up until they get de-addicted completely, Al Marri added.

He stressed that the solution is not to put this “category of users” in punitive institutions because these youths are patients and victims who need help. Rather than initiating criminal charges against them, the Dubai Police put them on a path to mend their ways and bring them into the mainstream, the police chief underlined. He said that some of them have succeeded in giving up drugs completely and become models of rehabilitation.

Al Marri stressed that there is a co-ordination between the general department of anti-narcotics and the penal and correctional institutions as well as the Community Development Authority (CDA) on how to prevent the juveniles and young people from falling into the quagmire of drug abuse and to protect them from relapsing into addiction.

E-councils to help vulnerable groups

Al Marri explained that the Dubai Police have established a number of e-councils to strengthen communication with the community, especially with groups most vulnerable to drugs. This includes formation of Student Councils, and the Council of Colleges. Each is headed by a student and has two police officers. To raise awareness about the dangers posed by drug menace and the law related to narcotics, specific classes will be held for the students in the future, he added.

Major General Khalil Ibrahim Al Mansouri, assistant commander-in-chief for criminal investigation, attributed the success of Dubai Police in containing drug abuse on the enhanced efforts of officials to reach out to the families of drug users.

He said that there has been an overwhelming response from the families, too. Two days back, the mother of a drug abuser contacted anti-narcotics department and reported that her son takes drugs, he revealed. “The mother was aware about the law that a person who voluntarily approaches the police would be dealt differently. She took the right decision to save her son without being legally held accountable by law and sought help through rehabilitation,” Al Mansouri said.

He pointed out that the police are also conducting periodic programmes in schools and clubs to send home the anti-drug message. They are also sensitising the media to combat drug abuse.

Brigadier General Eid Thani Hareb, director of general department of anti-narcotics, said that the programme to periodically check and follow-up while providing post-care has played a key role in the treatment and integration of the former addicts, who are serving jail terms in correctional institutions.

He said that the programme studied 188 cases of drug abuse during 2018 and 104 of them were rehabilitated. In 2017, it examined 217 cases and 79 young drug users were not criminally charged and sent to rehab centres.

Article 43 comes to drug abusers’ rescue

Brigadier General Eid Thani Hareb, director of general department of anti-narcotics, called on families to take advantage of Article 43 of the Anti-Narcotics Act, which offers an excellent chance and hope to young people who have fallen in the trap of drug use. He said that families should voluntarily report about their children – who are victims of drugs – so they can be administered treatment and put under surveillance until they abandon drugs. He said that the Dubai Police have arrested 2,834 suspects in various drug-related cases in 2018.

amira@khaleejtimes.com

Amira Agarib

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