Abu Dhabi’s Eid al-Adha Waste Cleared by 3,000 Workers

arab family eating picnic Abu Dhabi’s key attractions received a special makeover over the Eid holidays thanks to an army of extra workers equipped with special cleaning gear.

Public places and picnic spots received focused attention by 3,000 waste workers on duty across the Emirates for the holiday: waste generation skyrockets during Eid. Eid al-Adha, also called Big Eid, is an important 3-day Islamic holiday that occurs in the last month of the lunar Islamic calendar, after the start of the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca.  The holy days, or days of remembrance, recall the willingness of Ibrahim to obey God by sacrificing his son, Ismail. God of course intervened, and a sheep was sacrificed instead of the boy (read here about one Green Prophet writer who got close to Eid meat).

Animal sacrifice remains a primary ritual of Big Eid: a sheep (or goat, cow, or camel depending regional preference) of acceptable age and quality is slaughtered and its meat divided into three parts. One third is given to friends; one third offered to the poor; and one third retained by the family.  The practice demonstrates charitable practices that are core to Islam: families may also contribute to charities that will provide meat to the needy.

Over the holiday, more than 100 million animals are slaughtered worldwide.

Although special stockyards arise to serve holiday demand, many families choose to perform the ritual slaughter outside their homes. “We expect more animal waste after animal sacrifice, which should be disposed of immediately to avoid stinking and an action plan is in place to deal with it,” said Dr. Salem Al Kaabi, deputy general manager of the Center of Waste Management, according to Gulf News in an interview before the holidays, now over.

Slaughtering animals outside designated slaughterhouses is illegal, and those caught violating the law will be slapped with hefty fines.

The ritual also involves eating, very social eating, with friends and family who travel home specifically for the holiday which ocured over the weekend.  Picnic spots across the emirate generated more mess. Al Kaabi said the highest number of workers (1,400) were to be deployed in Al Ain; Abu Dhabi Island was to have been covered by 800 workers; and Abu Dhabi city, the Western Region, Mussaffah industrial and residential areas,  and Yas Island, by hundreds more.

“People will be camping at popular destinations such as Jabal Al Hafeet in Al Ain.  The waste discarded by the visitors will be immediately removed by the workers and vehicles on duty,” Al Kaabi said.

The workers were to tidy public places throughout daylight hours and into the evenings until 2 AM.

Al Kaabi asked picnickers to keep their party sites clean during the holidays. “Everyone should dispose of the waste in rubbish bins placed in parks and public places.”

The action plan aimed to clean and clear key attractions including Eid Musalla (open air prayer place), public parks and the manicured beachfront Corniche.  The workers also performed a massive evening sweep of roads, parks, and markets, cleaning public toilets and removing graffiti.

The Center of Waste Management said these efforts will enhance Abu Dhabi’s status as a premier international destination for tourism and leisure.

Image of family picnic by Shutterstock

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