E-waste project a boost for labourers

DUBAI // Laptops, mobile phones and mini-fridges are just some of the electrical items being donated to labourers in an environmental project that encourages children to recycle. The scheme is a win-win as workers get a chance to communicate with their families back home, while children visit labour camps to learn more about life on […]

DUBAI // Laptops, mobile phones and mini-fridges are just some of the electrical items being donated to labourers in an environmental project that encourages children to recycle.

The scheme is a win-win as workers get a chance to communicate with their families back home, while children visit labour camps to learn more about life on building sites.

The Gems Winchester School in Jebel Ali is the latest to become involved in the Pass it On project, established by the Eros Group of electrical distributors five years ago.

On Thursday, electrical goods were distributed to workers by five children at the school that collected the most devices. They handed out the goods at Jumeirah Park, a Nakheel project of more than 400 villas where 60 labourers work.

“I got two unwanted phones from my classmates, and the rest of the items came from my neighbours,” said Indian pupil Mishal Faraz. The 9-year-old wants to be an environmental scientist in future.

Gokulan Kumar, 12, collected laptops and printers. “It is pointless to throw these items out, so it is better if they can be reused by people who need them,” he said. “People were confused at first when I asked for their old junk. When I explained what we were doing, they were glad to help.”

Gems World Academy, Dubai British School and the Greenfield Community School also took part in the project.

Pass It On encourages people to recycle or reuse their e-waste, rather than dump it in landfills where items can contaminate soil and water supplies with harmful chemicals.

Unwanted computers, MP3 players, laptops, printers and kitchen appliances have been donated to the cause.

Jitendra Bhavnani, a manager at Eros, said the scheme gave children a different perspective.

“Some schools like the idea, others don’t, for whatever reason,” he said.

“We have a lot of underprivileged people in the country but these people still need to keep in touch with their families.

“The workers love it. When they get leave to go home at this time of year, it gives them something to take back with them. They are small gestures but they make a big difference.”

Because technology is evolving rapidly many products quickly become outdated, Mr Bhavnani said.

Eros and the schools work with local transporter Take My Junk to deliver the items free.

“We have been working with the children on many recycling issues such as papers, batteries and on climate change but this is something new,” said Shehla Ahmed, the Winchester School’s environmental coordinator.

“There is a lot of e-waste in our communities, with damaging chemicals, so this is a much better option, to reuse them.”

Mohammed Al Rani, 38, starts work at Jumeirah Park at 6.30am and stays on site until 5.30pm.

“Food and water is the main thing that we need and look forward to, everything else is a bonus,” said the Pakistani.

“I don’t have any communication tools to speak with my family so I need these things. I’m happy to receive anything.”

nwebster@thenational.ae

Source: uae news

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