top of page

The money is there. But is it being spent on impact?

At least 20 people showed up to an underwater cleanup organized for Abu Dhabi Terminals. The photo above shows the catering box which was made available to all participants. The only items not packaged in single use plastic are the banana, the apple and of course the Pepsico can.

The catering boxes were made available for at least 30 people by Griandiose Catering, which we assume were paid for their services. Grandiose Supermarket claims to be a proponent of the oceans. But that's the subject for another post.

We were told that the site to be cleaned was inspected by the organizer before the cleanup was announced. Ms Kathleen Russell whose e-mail is on the flyer is from Al Manara Diving Center and is very literate on plastic pollution. This is not the first underwater cleanup she helped organize. We first met at a conference in Abu Dhabi and she had invited the film producer of A Plastic Ocean and co-founder of A Plastic Ocean Foundation, Ms Jo Ruston, to show the film at an Emirates Diving Association (EDA) event. The EDA is accredited by the United Nations Environment Program.

This picture shows ALL that was recovered during this underwater cleanup. We challenge you to find 30 bottles among the debris recovered (not the Al Ain bottles which were obviously consumed and added to the catch).

The time and energy of the 20-30 divers who participated was spent on this. At least AED 30,000 was spent on this one cleanup (and this is a very conservative estimate). Where is the accountability in all of this? What was the point? Which dredged port “ecosystem” was being referred to in the event flyer?

The cleanup in question took place on UAE Flag Day 2021 (not intentional from what we know) and the poster for the event has the logos of the Environment Agency in Abu Dhabi (EAD) and PADI Aware Foundation. The latter claims that Foundation donations (no donation was made to PADI AWARE through this cleanup as far as we know) are being used “to spark local action for global impact and achieve balance between humanity and the ocean.”

The person who took these photos took them in good faith and we did not ask for them. He volunteers regularly with different initiatives and was disappointed at the outcome. “Not the best,” he said, “3 boats and this is what we found.”


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page