Dubai Can initiative cuts single-use plastic water bottle usage by nearly 18 million in two years


DUBAI, 14th March 2024 (WAM) — Dubai Can, the citywide sustainability initiative, has seen a reduction in the usage of an equivalent of almost 18 million 500ml single-use plastic water bottles in just two years since its launch.

With the support of its partners and sponsors, Dubai Can has placed 50 public water stations in strategic locations across the city, including parks and popular tourist destinations. These stations have dispensed almost nine million litres of water.

Dubai Can was launched on 15th February, 2022, by H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai, to reduce the utilisation of single-use plastic water bottles, empower residents and visitors to be active players in building a more sustainable future, and contribute to saving wildlife and the marine environment.

The initiative aligns with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to transform the emirate into a leading sustainable destination. It is part of the wider efforts to reduce the use of single-use plastics and encourage a mindset change in how the city’s residents and visitors view sustainability.

Dubai Can’s objectives are also supporting the Dubai 2040 Urban Masterplan and Dubai’s commitment to helping the UAE achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals and UAE NetZero 2050 targets.

With the UAE’s “Year of Sustainability” extending into 2024, the Dubai Can initiative has plans to expand with 30 additional water fountains being installed by the end of the year in locations around the city. This will further motivate residents and visitors to undertake simple lifestyle changes such as using refillable water bottles and installing water filters in their homes, offices, and schools.

Yousuf Lootah, Acting CEO of Corporate Strategy and Performance Sector, Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism, said, “The Dubai Can movement has been embraced by residents and visitors alike and we are proud of the considerable success it has achieved since its launch two years ago, in line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, to make Dubai a leading sustainable destination. We have seen consistent engagement with Dubai Can across the city, and the positive impact the initiative has made over the past two years.

“By reducing plastic waste, we are protecting our oceans, wildlife, and natural landscapes, and by choosing reusable options like our public water stations, we are promoting a healthier lifestyle and reducing our carbon footprint. We will ensure that Dubai Can continues to encourage residents and visitors to adopt greener practices and lifestyle choices in line with the goals of the Dubai Economic Agenda, D33, which aims to consolidate Dubai’s position among the top three global cities for business and leisure over the next decade.

“As we strive to achieve Dubai’s sustainability goals, we look forward to the continued success of Dubai Can, particularly in the UAE’s ‘Year of Sustainability’, which has been extended into 2024 and invites everyone to join in the collective effort to adopt sustainable practices. Dubai Can has driven the behavioural changes that are needed to tackle environmental challenges and the success of this initiative could not have been possible without the support of our valued city stakeholders and partners, as well as the overwhelming response from the public,” he added

Dubai has inspired many private companies to install water fountains in their offices, reducing single-use plastics in the workplace. Above all, the movement has encouraged residents and visitors to the UAE to adopt more sustainable behaviour and become conscientious consumers.

Driving a ‘Refill Culture’

All water stations throughout the city adhere to the highest hygiene standards and comply strictly with municipal, healthcare, and federal regulations. The stations provide clean and safe drinking water, which is tested in accordance with Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (DEWA), Gulf Cooperation Council, and World Health Organisation standards. Driving a ‘refill culture’, the drinking water from the stations is kept cool at 10°C, offering people a refreshing, clean, and safe alternative.

A resident in the UAE typically uses 450 plastic water bottles on average in a year, which translates into 4 billion plastic bottles being used annually across the country. The Dubai Can initiative will continue to encourage residents and visitors to help reduce waste and prevent millions of plastic bottles from ending up in landfills and in our oceans.

A second Dubai Can project, the Dubai Reef, was also launched in December 2023. One of the world’s largest marine reef developments, Dubai Reef is part of the city’s efforts to increase fish stocks, support sustainable fishing, and contribute to boosting food security. It will also play a vital role in reducing carbon emissions and increasing marine biodiversity.