Don’t Mess with Dahab – What’s it all about?

The title for this blog was inspired by my Texan heart, who remembers with fondness the Don’t Mess with Texas anti-litter campaign, sponsored by the Texas Department of Transportation. The campaign successfully reduced litter on Texas highways by about 70%.

Beyond its immediate role in reducing litter, the slogan became a Texas cultural phenomenon and the slogan has been popularly appropriated by Texans. Though the origin of the slogan is not well known outside of Texas, it appears on countless items of tourist souvenirs. The phrase “Don’t Mess with Texas” is a frequently cited example of pride in Texas culture.                                                              ~wikipedia

I lived in Texas for 9 years of my life, and the phrase Don’t Mess with Texas puts a smile on my face every time. You may even have seen my hubby walking around town sporting a Don’t Mess with Texas t-shirt (which puts an extra big smile on my face)!

So when I needed a title for this blog, my love for Texas and for the environment led naturally to “Don’t Mess with Dahab”.

This blog is not really about littering. But it is about mess.

If you have been to Dahab, you know we have a problem with mess, or rubbish, or garbage, or za3bella. No matter what word we use, there is no denying the problem. It’s everywhere! Residents understand and are quick to point out the obstacles we face in dealing with this problem: Garbage collection services provided by the city government are inefficient. Dumpsters are sparse and broken, causing the trash to be scattered along the road by the wind or hungry goats and sheep.

Getting things done in Egypt is never easy, but the Dahab community often comes together for clean-up efforts – in the desert, along the shore, and underwater as well – and have organized other initiatives to provide more bins and collection points.

But no one is talking about HOW MUCH rubbish there is. And that is the one thing that each of us can do something about personally.

If each of us “throws away” less rubbish, there will be less rubbish for the wind to blow around, less rubbish for the goats to scamper through, less rubbish finding its way into our seas and deserts, and less rubbish for everyone to clean up!

Makes sense, right?

If you’ve participated in one of the clean-ups or had a closer look at the piles of rubbish lying around, you’ve probably realized that a lot of our trash is plastic. (There are a lot of environmental and health problems associated with plastic, but for now, let’s focus on the fact that we need to – and can! – do something about the sheer amount of it.)

Learning how to use less plastic is something I’ve been working on personally for the last few years and I thought it was time to share with others what I’ve discovered. Hence, the blog.

I plan to share ideas and practical advice on how to reduce our use of plastic. I will highlight individuals, shops, and restaurants that make using less plastic easier. I will share our own personal experiences – sometimes frustrating, other times hopeful – in our adventure to live a life with less plastic here in Dahab.

I hope the blog keeps me more accountable for my use of plastic. If I’m going to be blogging to others about using less plastic, I’d better be following my own advice!

I hope that readers will also share their own ideas about how to use less plastic here in Dahab. I am not an expert and my life is not 100% plastic-free (and will most likely never be) so I know there is a lot still out there for me to learn. I am not a diver, a dog-owner, a surfer, a parent…so I’m counting on those of you who are to share the plastic-reducing challenges and successes that you’ve had specific to your hobbies and lifestyle.

I hope that we will discuss ways to live a more environmentally-friendly existence in general. I hope that we will become more aware, more responsible, and more pro-active.

I hope that you will join me on this journey.

Refuse ~ Reduce ~ Reuse ~ Recycle

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