Enjoy the desert by all means, but take your filth with you, you disgusting people!


There’s a quiet dead-end road in the desert, not too far from Dubai, with pretty dunes, that I frequently use for car photography and video… actually that should be, I previously used it.


I can no longer use it, because it’s now a rubbish tip. For some reason picnickers go there on the weekends – which is fine – except for the fact that they leave all their shit behind.

Now I’m not moaning because one of my favourite locations is ruined (it bloody is though!), but because it’s sickening and outrageous that people think that it’s okay to leave shit behind in the desert.

And if I thought this was bad, here’s some quite horrifying info I found after just a quick Google: In a two-week desert clean-up initiative a couple of years ago involving over 10,000 people in Dubai, more than 35,000 rubbish bags were filled up and 410 tonnes of litter was collected.

And what a lot of people still don’t realise is that it’s not just an eyesore, at least 100 animals a year in the UAE desert alone die from ingesting discarded rubbish and particularly plastic items, like shopping bags and bottles.

Because they fill up their stomach with junk that doesn’t get digested, they think they are full and some of them actually starve to death! One doctor found 52kg of plastic inside a camel! Plastics can also block intestines and even poison animals. Tragically I’ve seen huge numbers of camels grazing in this very area that I’m talking about.

What the heck people?! When you’re at home do you just drop shit all over your living room floor and walk off.

Perhaps some people do, because maybe they have other people to clear it up. Presumably that same mentality gets transferred to the desert – ‘someone will clean up after us’. It’s the middle of the bloody desert – who do you see around here that’s gonna clean up after you?! It’s not a flippin food court!

And it’s not true anyway. Having seen the slow sad deterioration of one my favourite spots, I’ve seen the same bits of litter in the location for weeks, there’s just too much of it there for me even to attempt to clear it up, I just end up sighing and shaking my head in disbelief.

Even if it does eventually get cleaned up, which it might do as it’s on the side of the road, some of it will be covered by constantly shifting sand by the time cleaners get there, leaving it for the poor animals to find – it won’t decompose you know. And what about further, deeper in the desert? People leave crap there too, just go see the area behind Al Bidiya (Big Red) in the UAE. Who do you think will go and clean up there?

The Dubai Municipality Waste Management Department has actually started using drones with cameras to monitor picnickers and campers to make sure they don’t leave rubbish behind. Littering the desert actually carries fines of between AED500-5000. Great idea, but why does it have to come to this? Why don’t people know for themselves that you simply should not litter – whether in the desert or indeed anywhere?!

It’s just a sad state of current mentality that people are just so irresponsible and careless, and imagine if the adults are like that, then how will the children learn to be any different? Just a little bit of care and consideration will improve the world for all of us.

Stop. Think. Pick up all your shit, and take it to proper waste disposal or recycling. Just please, please, don’t leave anything in the desert.

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