Culture of consumption ‘needs to change’
ABU DHABI: “The UAE has passed through different changes in its culture since it was founded in 1971. And one of the negative changes in its culture is the over-consumption behaviour of its residents,” says Mohamed Aal Ali, an Abu Dhabi University student, in his study on “Consuming Culture in the UAE.”
He believes it’s not only the availability that leads to wastage in the country, but ignorance of residents who use its resources in abundance. “Unfortunately, most of its money is spent on shopping, electricity, food, and water,” says Ali in his report.
Speaking to The Gulf Today Ali adds that the UAE residents might not be aware of the huge amount of money and resources that they are using. Wastage of food, fuel, water and electricity is a huge unrealised problem in Abu Dhabi, because the wastage runs deeper every day.
He says, “The culture of consumption here is such that no one pays heed to limit their budgets. Also, they buy things which they do not need.” He adds “UAE residents have several forms of consuming culture behaviour. First, they consume a lot of fuel. For instance, most of the residents have four-wheel-drive cars which consume a lot of petrol.”
“According to our survey, 26 persons out of 50 said that their car’s engine size is more than four litres.” “Second, they spend a lot of money by using mobile phones. According to our survey, 17 persons out of 50 said that they have two mobile phones,” Ali opines.
Moreover he states that the consumption culture is an obstacle in the path of development and improvement. “Oil as we all know will not stay forever, so we have to plan for the future wisely. The next generations will not have the same benefits as we do. Some people in the world are starving and do not have even bread to eat while we are here throwing food in the garbage,” he stresses.
He continues that since people spend too much money, they waste it on things they do not really need like driving leisurely around, wasting petrol affecting the environment like air, land, and water pollution.
Moreover Ali adds that most residents who buy cars here do not look for a car that is environment-friendly, rather they go for the most expensive one.
He explains, “At the end of the day it’s just a car after all but with all its ill effects it’s damaging the environment.
“According to our survey 17 persons out of 50 mentioned that their car value is more than Dhs100,000.”
Ali states that huge consumption of water, food, electricity and other things will eventually deplete and make the country spend more money just to provide these for its residents. He recommends that in the UAE, individuals should reduce their consumption by taking some steps like, “if someone is leaving his house, they should turn off all water and electrical usage in the house. In this way it will not only reduce your monthly bill, it will also have a large effect on the country’s consumption and the world.”
He also suggests that at the time of leaving their house individuals should not make the car their first choice, as it pollutes the air, instead they should use other means of transportation like a bike or electrical scooter or something that doesn’t produce a lot of carbon dioxide.
Moreover he adds that, the authorities should help the people by guiding them in the right track as they are not aware of the problems from spending so much money on unnecessary things.
By Shamila Jamaluddin