e25’er: Sara Al Liusie
Current location: Eataly @ Dubai Mall
Consuming: Americano and a small pistachio gelato
The e25 journal begins! Its aim is to serve as a cathartic outlet where we are able to record our ideas, activities, thoughts and projections to keep you, our followers, engaged throughout this journey. We want the blog to be as raw and natural as possible, and for all of us to develop our own narrative via this journal.
I grew up with Dubai and went through its growth spurt from rubble to skyscrapers. Although I’m of Chinese origin, I am Emirati by nationality but culturally; I guess I’d be defined as ‘international’. I’ve lived in London for 7 years preceding, and coming back to Dubai is a little bit strange. I’m excited to see what we can do as a team to contribute towards improving my hometown, my Dubai!
We’re being assembled globally (akin to the Justice League!), and have already been acquainted via numerous Skype calls over the past few weeks. We’ve briefly discussed ideas encompassing our marketing strategy, our branding, and e25’s I.T. structure and, perhaps most importantly, vocalized our mutual love for good food. However, it’s difficult to hold meetings with people spread across the UK, Dubai, Nepal and India! We’ll all be relieved to be in the same place when we can start communicating and fleshing out our ideas.
Ali and I will be attending the STEP conference which takes place on the 5th/6th of April, and we’re excited to listen to other startups speak about their experiences. It’ll be the best way to get acquainted with Dubai’s startup scene and for us to get real insight about what e25’s future may entail.
Personally, I am very passionate about waste reduction and being as green as possible. I am not sure where this has derived from; it’s truly innate. I never received the education or knowledge to recycle – my family is still not open to the idea of recycling! They think it’s an unnecessary hassle. What difference would recycling one plastic bottle make to the already accumulated sea of litter? Do you feel the same way? I myself wasn’t aware of the extent of how harmful and wasteful plastic bottles are until a year ago. Let me pull up a couple of facts:
Fact #1: It takes centuries for PET bottles to decompose, amounting to billions of tiny environmentally poisonous time bombs. Water bottles are made of completely recyclable polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastics, but PETs photodegrade i.e. they break down into smaller fragments over a long period of time. These fragments absorb toxins that pollute our waterways, contaminate our soil, and sicken animals (which we then eat).
Fact #2: Only PET bottles can be recycled. All other bottles are discarded and end up in landfills, and thereafter leach dangerous chemicals into the ground. Only 1 out of 5 bottles are sent to the recycling bin. The States alone throws around 38 billion water bottles into landfills, annually.
Fact #3: 10% of the plastic manufactured worldwide ends up in the ocean. Every square mile of the ocean has over 46,000 pieces of floating plastic in it. Plastic bottle tops and plastic bags are non-recyclable and end up either never degrading at the bottom of the ocean, or in the stomachs of marine animals that mistake them for food. One albatross that was once found dead on a Hawaiian island had a stomach full of 119 bottle caps.
Fact #4. It takes over 1.5 million barrels of oil to meet the demand of U.S. water bottle manufacturing. This amount of oil far exceeds the amount needed to power 100,000 cars for a year, which does not include fossil fuel and emissions costs of greenhouse gases needed to transport the final product to market.
Fact #5: The plastic-making process requires over two gallons of water for the purification process of every gallon of water. How wasteful!
Fact #6: Plastic drinking bottles contain many chemicals, some of which interfere with hormones in the body. Chemicals in the plastic can seep into bottled water, especially when exposed to heat or when the bottle is old.
It is unfortunate that Dubai does not provide fresh drinking water via our taps due to the dangers of contamination from the piping system. I try and minimize buying bottled water by re-filling the same bottle from public fountains. I also installed a water filtration system in my house which cost 950AED (http://www.liquidoflife.net/). I say no to straws, plastic bags, and plastic (I carry my own and use a backpack). I use a DivaCup (http://divacup.com/). I don’t eat beef (What’s the link here? Watch Cowspriacy). I hope these little actions can surmount as a significant movement in trying to be eco-friendly, and maybe provide you with some tips on how to adjust your own daily choices.
And now, via e25, I want to take this one-of-a-kind opportunity to make my city, Dubai, a green city. Let’s decrease Dubai’s waste, or find a way to provide more sustainable water sources.
Got an idea? Leave a comment and let’s be green together!