What’s a camel doing at the COP28 Technology and Innovation Hub?

A 3D-printed camel at the COP28 Technology and Innovation Hub in Dubai.
Image Credit: Alex Abraham/Gulf News

Dubai: Amid electric bikes and cutting edge technology, the model of a camel with a stomach full of plastic waste stands in stark contrast to the other projects at the Technology and Innovation Hub 1.

Entitled The Lost Camel, it is an Emirates Development Bank innovation project created to raise awareness about how camels are eating plastic left behind by campers in the desert. Ingesting the plastic results in blockages, internal infections, starvation and eventually death. Calcified plastic weighing up to 52kg have been discovered in some of their stomachs.

So what’s the camel doing at the Innovation Hub?

Shaker Zainal, Chief Business Officer, Emirates Development Bank, says the bank has been supporting various renewable energy projects and wants to deliver a key message by showcasing the camel at COP28.

In the UAE, camels have been used over hundreds of years for transport, food and milk. But, of late a large number of camels in the country have died due to eating plastic or garbage.

“We want to educate the people and encourage them to eliminate plastic as much as possible,” Zainal says. “Be more sustainable as a human being, because little things can create a significant impact.”

GREEN Al Dhaid VIRENDRA 33-1642778204879
Camels graze in the desert in Al Dhaid, Sharjah.
Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/ Gulf News

Camel remains have displayed compressed tangles of plastic items, mainly plastic bags, which kill camels slowly by blocking their intestines, tearing at internal organs and creating conditions for bacterial infection.

Plastic pollution has also been responsible for endangering animal life in and around the world’s oceans.

The AI generated camel on display was 3-D printed using industrial recycled plastic and plastic litter collected from the desert – a tribute by the bank to all the camels who have been lost in the sands from eating plastic that should never have been there in the first place. “We don’t want the camels to die in the desert after eating plastic.”

“Our mandate as a bank is to ensure that our money goes into projects that can convert waste to energy or any projects to renewable energy,” Zianal said. “Our main objective is to support these companies.”

It’s time to stop by and give the camel some thought.