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Still not your ideal swimming pool, Nile cleaned up
Published in Daily News Egypt on 19 - 09 - 2006

CAIRO: The waters of the Nile are running cleaner this week after dozens of volunteers taking part in a United Nations-sponsored drive removed more than a ton of trash from the river.
"It's a big amount of garbage, says Essam Nada, executive director of the Arab Office for Youth and Environment, a local group which helped organize the campaign.
The Cairo clean up, which took place on Sept. 12, is part of a global movement dubbed "Clean Up the World, which will see an estimated 35 million volunteers in 122 countries pitch in to improve environmental standards from China to Canada.
Nada tells The Daily Star Egypt that volunteers armed with rubber gloves removed most of the trash by hand along a 1 km-stretch of river bank in the city's Shoubra district.
"Mainly, it was municipal garbage - solid waste, plastic bags and paper, explains Nada, adding that some machinery donated from the local authority for the day was also brought in for removal.
Workers from the Ministries of Environment and Irrigation also took part, adds Nada.
"It's not a one-sided event, he notes. "It's a partnership.
Sami El Ghaytaty, who helps run the Friends of Nature Association, notes that volunteers also planted 30 trees to raise public awareness about the importance of conserving fresh water and keeping the Nile free of trash.
"We're focusing on water conservation, he says, adding that plastic rubbish and large amounts of weeds were also removed.
"It was a symbol to attract attention ... we should conserve the Nile and protect it from pollution, he adds.
While volunteers in the rest of the world kicked off their clean up efforts over the weekend, Nada says that the Egyptian campaign took place last week to accommodate the schedules of the approximately 150 student volunteers, who went back to classes last week.
Since the program began in 1993, organizers estimate that about 3.6 million tons of garbage has been collected - enough to fill 5,700 Olympic-sized swimming pools. "Clean Up the World mobilizes people around a powerful idea - taking the challenge of environment and sustainable development to our front doors, our back yards and everywhere else around the world, said Achim Stenier, head of the United Nations Environment Program, in a recent Reuters interview.


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