ABU DHABI, 24th April, 2018 (WAM) — The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD), in partnership with the Anantara Eastern Mangroves Hotel, the Emirates Diving Association and Al Mahara Diving Centre organised a clean-up campaign on Saturday to clean the water and offshore the Eastern Mangrove area.
Located in the heart of Abu Dhabi city, the Mangrove National Park is one of the most important nature reserves within the Sheikh Zayed Protected Areas Network. The Park, which is the closest mangrove forest to Abu Dhabi City, is home for many migratory birds, and a unique destination for picnics and nature lovers.
The clean-up, which began at 4:00 p.m. and ended at 6:00 p.m. saw the participation of more 150 volunteers from different governmental and private organisations in Abu Dhabi. Among these entities were the Centre of Waste Management – Abu Dhabi (Tadweer), Abu Dhabi Municipality, Traffic and Patrols Directorate – Abu Dhabi Police, the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC), Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, NMC Specialty Hospital -Abu Dhabi, Spark Security Services and a number of volunteers from the community.
The two-hour clean-up resulted in the removal of 500 kgs of waste from the shore and the seawater using kayaks, which included mostly of plastic, wood waste, metal and glass.
This campaign was one of a series of clean-ups organised by EAD under the theme ‘Together We Make The Difference’ in 2018 to clean beaches, diving sites, deserts and other habitats in different locations of Abu Dhabi Emirate to ensure that our natural environment is safe, clean and healthy and to involve the community in environmental conservation.
Commenting on the clean-up, Khansa Al Blouki, EAD’s Acting Director of Environmental Outreach, said, “Mangroves are an important part of Abu Dhabi’s natural ecosystem which extends over 150 km² of natural and planted mangroves. They provide a rich natural habitat and safe breeding ground for several fish species, sea snakes, turtles and commercially important shrimp, snapper, grunt fish and sea bream. Sea birds also find safe nesting and egg laying areas in the vast mangrove forests.”
Al Blouki also said that “Mangrove forests prevent the coastline erosion caused by waves and ocean currents, and play an important role in reducing carbon emissions, thereby contributing to lessening the impacts of climate change. In the past in the UAE, mangrove wood was a major source of food and fuel, and was also used for building houses and ships because of its durability and high resistance to rot and termites.”
She mentioned that “Choosing the Eastern Mangrove area to be cleaned within our series of clean-up campaigns was to highlight the importance of this ecosystem and to focus on the environmental legacy of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who was the first to initiate a massive afforestation programme of mangroves, which substantially contributed to their increase over the past decades.”
Saadi Al-Haddadi, Head of Projects Division at Tadweer, said, “Tadweer always participates and supports activities and campaigns that aim to raise the community’s awareness and encourage its members to practice and adopt eco-friendly habits and behaviour. This clean-up campaign is also in line with Tadweer’s mission to raise awareness among members of the community about the importance of maintaining a clean living environment.”