The sight that greeted the employees and customers of local telecom giant Dhiraagu when they entered the main office’s lobby Sunday morning was unlike any other. Strewn haphazardly across the floor were heaps of plastic bags and garbage bags, giving the image of a small landfill.
The shocking sight was, however, a social experiment conducted by Dhiraagu to launch its new campaign “For the Oceans”, an international movement against littering the oceans with plastic bags in collaboration with international environment protection organisation Parley for the Oceans and local NGO BEAM.
The campaign was launched by Abdul “Gabbe” Ghafoor, the local water sports aficionado who gained national fame with his successful solo challenge to circumnavigate the Maldives in a Catamaran.
Dhiraagu’s marketing communications and public relations manager Mohamed Mirushan Hassan said several activities have been planned under “For the Oceans” campaign to urge the reduction of single-use plastic bags and instead opt for reusable bags.
Dhiraagu introduced its new product, a reusable environment friendly bag as part of its campaign, which will be distributed to its employees and visiting customers. The company also plans to host training programmes and reef cleaning activities to raise awareness among school children.
“We’ve established a plastic collection area in all offices of Dhiraagu. All the plastics will be exported to Parley via BEAM for recycling,” said Mirushan.
Speaking at the launching ceremony, Abdul Ghafoor recalled sights of plastic bags and other materials he had witnessed in the ocean during his trip around the Maldives.
“I used to think we’d see these plastic materials only close to the islands, but I saw such objects miles away from islands on my journey. The dangers these actions pose to marine life is something we all need to think about,” he said.
BEAM’s executive director Shahina Ali noted that the public is generally aware of the damages caused by plastic littering the oceans, expressing confidence that the use of plastics can be reduced eventually and make a difference.
She declared that with public support, the use of plastics can be significantly reduced over the next ten years.