The United Arab Emirates consumes a staggering 4 billion plastic bottles every year, and a mind-boggling 40% of all plastic used in the country is single-use, wreaking havoc on local wildlife, including sea turtles and camels. To combat this ecological disaster, Dubai has taken a bold step towards a sustainable future with the introduction of "Dubai Can". The initiative aims to reduce the city's dependence on single-use plastic bottles and has kicked off by installing 40 water refill stations in various locations throughout the city, encouraging residents and tourists to use reusable water bottles.

Yousuf Lootah, Executive Director of Tourism Development and Investments at Dubai's Department of Economy and Tourism, and Vice Chairman of Dubai Sustainable Tourism, said, "Dubai Can" was the brainchild of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai, and Chairman of the Executive Council of Dubai. The initiative is a collaboration between the government and private sector to eliminate plastic bottles from our lives."

As part of the effort, the campaign has embraced the latest technology in advanced water production, utilizing air-to-water systems to produce drinking water from the atmosphere. Over 500 public and private companies have joined hands with the Dubai-based initiative, many of which have sponsored water fountains. Among these are global hotel chains such as Accor, who have pledged to eliminate single-use plastic in all their hotels worldwide.

Dubai is also home to numerous companies involved in green energy, green technology, cleantech, and Agri-tech, who are looking to collaborate with the government and private sector to drive a more sustainable future. Veolia, a free, recyclable, waste collection app, is another entity working to make a difference, recycling plastic PET bottles into fabric fibers used to fill pillows.

Dubai has taken things one step further by introducing a new law, starting from July 1, which will require customers to pay for single-use plastic bags in retail outlets across the city, with the ultimate aim of a total ban within two years.

Yousuf Lootah emphasized that the government is committed to working with other entities to improve the carbon efficiency and impact of all activities in the city. He said, "There is a lot that we are going to be working on in collaboration with other government entities, with the private sector and the consumers, to improve the carbon efficiency or the carbon impact of all of the activities that are happening in Dubai, whether it's from the tourism sector or the general economic sectors."