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Fighting Everyday For The Survival Of The Planet

by Marco Augugliaro |

Emily, as a Biologist, which evolution how have you seen in the marine and coastal environment? Which the most pressuring challenges you are facing?

Situated on the open coast of Saadiyat Island, we are constantly exposed to strong waves and winds that bring with them a lot of trash. Every day our team collects bags full of trash, and every morning more items wash in. Here on the coast we really see the impacts of plastic usage/disposal, in a way that people in the city might not realize. Other challenges we face are the extreme tides and winds; in the winter the winds can completely change the landscape of the beach, and in summer the extreme tides can have devastating effects on the nests laid here by critically endangered Hawksbill Turtle – if the nests are washed over and get wet, they may not survive.

marine biologist open turtle dead on beach in abu dhabi

Plastic is the most diffused material, now also one of the most diffused pollutant in the seas. What are the most devastating impacts of this? It is very common to see horror stories about plastics in the media these days, and it is estimated that humans ingest about a credit card worth of plastics every week, through microplastics in our food and drink. However, these plastic statistics are not an abstract idea for me as I see firsthand how they can impact marine species. Occasionally on Saadiyat Island, if a dead turtle washes up on shore, we will carry out a necropsy to check for possible cause of death – since late 2018, when I came to Saadiyat, every dead turtle I have studied has had some kind of foreign object – plastics – in it’s stomach. Though this debris might not be the direct cause of death, plastics are working their way into turtles lives, and some turtles as young as 1-year-old have been found to have over 10 individual plastic items throughout the digestive tract.

marine biologist open dead turtle on beach by plastic pollution in abu dhabi

Kairen swimtrunks made from recycled plastics are now available at Jumeirah At Saadyiat beach Resort. Kairen has sustainability principle at its core. What do you think about the brand and its impact?

As we become more aware of our plastic consumption, and more people become engaged with recycling initiatives, it is important to find a good use for all these recycled items! It is great that brands like Kairen are able to take items such as plastic bottles, which are really used to excess especially in the UAE, and create something valuable from them. Another great thing about the brand is raising awareness of the plastics issue – some customers are initially drawn to the swimtrunks just by the eye-catching patterns, but end up learning more about single-use plastics and may make changes in their own lives in how they use and recycle items. In this way, Kairen can influence small changes across numerous consumers, which can ultimately lead to a very big overall impact.