By Kent Gray
The beginning of the end is seemingly here for the once humble plastic bottle in Middle East golf circles.
The MENA Tour by Arena has claimed bragging rights as the first sports organisation in the UAE to halt the consumption of ‘single-use’ plastic bottles at its tournaments. Australian professional Daniel Gaunt, who captured the Al Zorah Open in Feb., was rolled out at Yas Links on Sunday as the circuit’s (probably unwitting) anti-plastic poster boy.
We think it is safe to presume that @Gauntgolf is not a big fan of single-use plastic water bottles!!
Starting this week at the Abu Dhabi Open by Arena at @yaslinksgc, the MENA Tour by @arenagroup_plc is going plastic-free.#sustainability pic.twitter.com/Ma4OT9WVt5
— MENA Tour (@theMENATour) October 6, 2019
As part of its just upgraded sponsorship of the MENA Tour, Arena Middle East & Asia has given each player at this week’s Abu Dhabi Open by Arena a steel water bottle. The Abu Dhabi-based arm of Arena Group, a global provider of turnkey structures for the “most prestigious occasions in the global calendar”, has also put up refill stations around Yas Links to keep the field suitably hydrated.
— Sam Hobday (@sam_hobday) October 6, 2019
The MENA Tour joins The Track, Meydan Golf in Dubai and Al Hamra in Ras Al Khaimah in saying no to single-use plastics, a movement that is gaining global traction.
The Track, Meydan Golf stopped adding plastic bottles to its carts on October 1, instead encouraging players to bring their own aluminium bottles with them to the nine-hole pay-to-play course to “contribute towards this cause”. In a flyer, the Troon International-managed course said it had increased the number of dispensers offering “chilled” water around the layout and would also offer a 50 percent discount on Track, Meydan Golf-branded re-usable aluminium bottles for green fee players who didn’t already own one of the canisters, bringing the cost down to just AED 15.
“The Track, Meydan Golf will be supporting the #GoGreen #SayNoToPlastic campaigns. We would like to contribute towards this cause by taking decisions and more responsible steps for the environment,” the club said.
“In order to sustain the planet’s natural resources and making the planet a better place for our current and future generations, the first step is reducing the plastic waste going into our planet. Thank you for your understanding and for helping reduce the amount of plastic waste being generated.”
Al Hamra G.C. has taken the #GoGreen initiative a step further by becoming the first golf club in the Middle East to eliminate all single-use plastic items from its premises. In addition to ditching plastic bottles, plastic straws, stirrers and take away containers have also been given the red card.
The club has partnered with the UAE-based ‘No More Bottles’ in introducing high-quality water filtration solutions across the par-72 layout and has replaced all plastic water bottles with branded glass alternatives for members and guests to use. The bottles will be cleaned, sterilised and refilled with the help of advanced environmentally-friendly filtration units.
“At Al Hamra, we are committed to preserving the environment and promoting environmental best practices,” said Christopher Hewett, Vice President-Hospitality and Leisure at Al Hamra Group.
“The decision by Al Hamra Golf Club to eliminate single-use plastic, thereby becoming the first golf club in the region to do so, serves as a role model on how positive sustainability initiatives can be integrated. The move is even more laudable as it underlines the commitment of the club to conserve its ecosystem, given its location by the Arabian Gulf and the Al Hamra Lagoon. The decision makes Al Hamra Golf Club a true pioneer in championing environmental sustainability.”
Al Hamra G.C. will focus on achieving its sustainability goals by installing innovative ‘Waterlogic’ water dispensers to their main water supply. No More Bottles claim the “advanced antimicrobial water purification systems fitted with UV Firewall” effectively wipe out impurities and cleanse pathogens from the water by up to “99.99 percent”.
The implementation of the new initiative extends throughout the golf club’s food and beverage outlets with guests to be offered the option of unlimited filtered water in glass bottles at a nominal cost.
“No More Bottles are delighted to announce our partnership with Al Hamra Golf Club as they work to achieve their sustainability goals,” said Carol Fraser, Managing Director of No More Bottles.
“It is always great to see another organisation supporting a cause so close to our own. We are working towards reducing plastic bottles by distributing high-quality filtration systems across the UAE and we are proud that Al Hamra Golf Club has joined us in our efforts.”
— MENA Tour (@theMENATour) October 6, 2019