Marine debris is choking our oceans, creating a devastating impact on marine ecosystems world-wide.  


Marine debris is harmful to marine life and can have catastrophic and often fatal results.  It can cause injury or death through drowning, entanglement or starvation following ingestion.

Large percentages of fish now contain man made debris plastic or fibrous material, which absorbs toxins that consumers of seafood digest.

Birds, sharks, turtles, dolphins and whales are the innocent victims of marine debris.  The World Economic Forum stated in January 2016 that there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050.

We can’t do this alone. Join us to protect and conserve our marine environment, preventing and removing the unprecedented amount of marine debris entering our oceans and waterways.




What is Marine Debris?


Marine debris (or marine litter) is defined as any persistent, manufactured or processed solid material discarded, disposed of or abandoned in the marine and coastal environment.

Marine debris includes consumer items such as glass or plastic bottles, cans, bags, balloons, rubber, metal, fibreglass, cigarettes and other manufactured materials that end up in the ocean and along the coast. It also includes fishing gear such as line, ropes, hooks, buoys and other materials lost on or near land, or intentionally or unintentionally discarded at sea.

Marine debris is globally recognised as an environmental concern. It is a danger to all marine life including birds, sharks, turtles and marine mammals, causing injury or death through drowning, entanglement, or starvation following ingestion.

Studies and analysis of marine debris conducted by the global scientific community are revealing its disturbing impacts with alarming results:


  • 44% of marine mammals and 86% of turtle species are estimated to have plastic in their guts.

  • 80% of seabird species ingest plastic, 90% of birds in those species had plastics in their gut.

  • 99% of the world's seabirds species will be ingesting plastic by 2050 if current marine pollution trends continue.

  • 8 million metric tonnes of land-based plastic goes into the oceans each year, the equivalent of 16 shopping bags full of plastic for every metre of coastline (excluding Antarctica).

  • By 2025 it is estimated there will be enough plastic in the ocean (on their most conservative estimates) to cover 5% of the earth’s entire surface in cling wrap each year.


Plastic? Not so fantastic!


Marine debris is a globally recognised environmental issue as marine ecosystems around the planet are increasingly affected by human-made refuse, much of which is plastic.


Plastics production has surged over the past 50 years, from 15 million tonnes in 1964 to 311 million tonnes in 2014, and is expected to double again over the next 20 years.

Plastic items breakdown as they enter the natural environment but they don’t disappear. They do not biodegrade, instead, many smaller pieces disperse and commonly enter marine and coastal environments.

The silent killer of all the plastics comes in the form of minute remnants, broken down from everyday products. Mostly unseen, they are known as microplastics - or plastic particles smaller than five millimetres in size. Microplastics pose a massive environmental and human health risk when they enter waterways and oceans. 

These microplastics absorb man made toxic particles in the ocean, such as PCBs, DDT, BPA and methyl mercury.

The harmful effects of these toxic particles (such as PCBs and DDT) intensify as they are passed up the food chain and are quickly becoming, not only a threat to marine animals everywhere, but also a serious health risk to seafood consumers the world over.

Microplastics have several sources: They're laundered from nylon clothing; they wash down the drain with many cosmetics, exfoliating scrubs and toothpastes; and they weather from debris like plastic bottles, plastic packaging and bags. 





Azraq Stop Sucking-02.png

On 15 February 2018, Azraq joined hands with Freedom Pizza to announce a campaign that would reduce single use plastic straws from food outlets in the United Arab Emirates.

This movement was inspired by the thoughtful acts of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, crown prince of Dubai, who last year dedicated the launch of International Volunteer Day to cleaning the sea.

Since launching, Pitfire Pizza, Jumeriah Group, Gates Hospitality and Urth have followed in Freedom Pizza’s footsteps to remove plastic straws and in most cases additional single plastic items like cutlery from their restaurants, cafes and hotels.

In the US alone, 500 million straws are used every day. The World Economic Forum has warned if action is not taken, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050, which is an extremely worrying thought. Plastic straws end up in the ocean primarily through human error, and an estimated 71% of seabirds and 30% of turtles have been found with plastics in their stomachs.





  • Purchase your stainless steel straws through our webstore and help reduce the number of straws entering our waterways

  • Simply request "no plastic straw" at bars, cafes and restaurants

  • Or help us to increase the number of food outlets ditching the plastic straw by providing this letter to the owner or manager of a food outlet currently providing plastic straws or if you have a child that is focussing on this issue, here is a letter where they can raise their voice and concern.



NOTE: The Daily Restaurant in Karama, Wrapchic in Burjuman, Yo! Sushi in Burjuman and Azkadenya in Mercato Mall are the only outlets under this name to sign on to this change in operations for the time being. Other restaurants throughout the Middle East bearing the same name are not a part of the #stopsucking initiative.

Congratulations to the following outlets for also coming onboard the campaign by only providing plastic straws on request:


Boca The Living Room Cafe

Jim’s Kitchen Table

DUBAI MALL No. FiftySeven Boutique Cafe


Joe’s Crab Shack Eat Greek


Barbeque Nation Broccoli Pizza and Pasta

Peshwa Restaurant Sushi Express Cafe

Jaffer Bhai’s Restaurant Sub Zone Bistro

The Bhukkad Cafe BURJUMAN

Good Day Cafe Krispy Kreme

Superkid Restaurant Drink and Spice Magics Restaurant

Betawi Cafe The Yellow Chili

Kulfi House Shamiana

The Monk Chinese Palace

Bikanervala Restaurant Smoothie Factory

California Pizza Kitchen

Spices Garden Cafe

Tapa King

Tangerine Restaurant

Papa John’s

Dome Cafe




Marine debris is the most common man-made object sighted at sea with 18,000 pieces of plastic litter reported to be floating on every square kilometre of the world's oceans, outnumbering sea life at a ratio of 6 to 1.

Each year millions of tonnes of marine debris enter our oceans and waterways injuring and killing more than a million birds and 100 million marine animals (including fish, turtles, whales) through entanglement, suffocation and ingestion.

Toxins including DDT, BPA and methyl mercury adhere to microplastic particles, and then enter the food chain when ingested by aquatic life, accumulating in birds, fish, marine mammals and potentially humans.

The time for action is now, we have no choice but to act.

The Marine Debris Campaign brings together the efforts of volunteers and the community to keep beaches and waterways cleaner and safer for marine life while collecting data for national analysis.

Volunteers involved in Azraq are committed to promoting and facilitating family friendly coastal and river clean-up activities in support of the protection and conservation of their local marine environment.

Participants collect, sort, catalogue and record every piece of debris collected. The database is accessed by scientists and researchers to determine the top debris items and hot spots around the coastline for rubbish.



We invite you to join us and be part of the solution.


All clean-up events are detailed on our events calendar or our Azraq Facebook page.


Join the Marine Debris Team.

Passionate people are encouraged to join our team. Volunteers are notified of any scheduled clean-ups being organised.

Interested volunteers can email admin@azraqme.org for further information.

If you would like to volunteer at one of our public beach cleans check the events calendar or our Facebook page.