By Akshay Rajesh
Some animals eat plastic bags and other items, which could prove harmful to humans when their meat or milk is consumed.
While I was on a trip from Dubai towards Hatta, I saw these camels consuming plastic and cardboard (as seen in the photograph).
It was heartbreaking to see that the national animal of the UAE was not provided with proper food. All they consumed was plastic bags, cardboard and leftovers. Though they require less water and food, it is important that they are provided with proper food and shelter.
If camels ingest plastic, they risk falling sick and would eventually die. Also, if the camel milk is being consumed or the camel slaughtered for meat, the person consuming the meat will be at risk of several health problems.
I request the authorities to take this matter seriously and raise a concern towards the care for camels.
According to a Gulf News report published in January, 2012, a study carried out by the Ministry of Environment and Water found that around 50 per cent of camel deaths in the UAE each year are attributed to plastic bags they have eaten, assuming it to be food.
Animals eat the mostly tourism-generated lightweight, long-lasting plastic bags that blow around the desert, mistaking the trash for food.
In May, 2013, Dubai Municipality launched a ‘Say No to Plastic Bags’ campaign aiming for a 20 per cent reduction in the estimated 2.9 billion plastic bags used in the emirate every year.
Fines for littering range from Dh200 to Dh1000 across the emirates.