Friday, December 10, 2010

How a damaged water pipe complaint is treated in Dubai?

I love Dubai!
Yesterday morning while going to office from Shaikh Zayed Road, me & my husband saw an unusual big water spout at the roadside near Dubal factory, Jebel Ali. Though the water was far from the road, it was bursting out as a fountain & was giving idea of how many gallons of water must be wasting because of some fault! Immidiately we decided to call Dubai Water & Electricity Authority (DEWA) to make them notice this fault & take action. But we had no number of Dewa for such complain. So at 7.20 am I called 8009090, an Road & Transport Authority (RTA) complaint no. This no. is known as "Madinati" (I think "city" in Arabic). I explianed the water leakage situation & location of it. The call attendant assured me that they will inform the case to DEWA with my contact details & DEWA will get back to me. Before we take doubt on this assurance, I received a SMS from RTA, with a case reference no, of my complaint.
After few minutes (around 7.40am) I received a call from DEWA technicians. They told me very politely that they have reached Dubal main gate & asked the location of water wastage & my observations of seriouseness of water pipe damage. As I was passing from there by a car, I coudn't notice much except a big water fountain & approximate location of it. I explained it to them. They called me few more times to confirm the location & asked the landmark nearby. During every call they promised me again & again that they will find the damaged pipe & repair it straight away.
Finally at 8.40 am I received a sms from DEWA saying 'your notification (with refernce no) for water pipe broken has been closed, thank you'
I am quite sure that they must have found the broken water pipe & repaired it soon.

In this incident the reaction timing of RTA & DEWA was really appreciable, which shows the Dubai Municipality's priority towards water & energy conservation & also policies to treat customer complains for public infrastructure!

That's why I LOVE DUBAI!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Time for Beaches, Parks, Mountains & Wadies in UAE

The time for outdoors has already started in UAE. Winter is the only time when you get to see most of the people enjoying weather & nature of UAE.

As I keep mentioning UAE has developed many parks, green areas. In Dubai one can find many of them along beaches & throughout the city. The newly developed communities in Dubai are landscaped where, not just people of UAE but also some common birds & migratory birds reside. Waking up early in morning with sound of birds outside & rising sun with calmness (& with less heat & glare) is the bliss which you can enjoy at least for 4 months here.

Recently we spent a day in one of the oldest park in Dubai. As we entered Safa Park, it reminded me of the Royal Botanical park of Sydney. The resembalnace was because of lush greenery & view of city icon (Opera House in Sydney & Burj Khalifa in Dubai). But apart from this there is certainly nothing common in Safa park & royal botanical park in Sydney or elsewhere. The biggest difference is that most of famous parks on Earth generally have naturally grown trees & greenery, though it is maintened by city councils. But the parks in UAE (which has nearly no fertile land) are mostly created by planting trees after they are fully grown & has very few naturally grown plants & trees . But after seeing the maturity of parks & remarkable maintenance, many of us don't even recognise this fact.

This park is favourite place of migratory birds, as there is a special lake made for birds along with two more lakes in park. As it was a public holiday & park was full of enthusiastic Dubaisiders we though it was not right time for birdwatching. But for our surprise there were plenty of birds & park has enough space & quiet areas along lake for birds.

The dedicated barbeque areas, chidren play area is near the borders of park making the lake area & main park secluded from these activities. Safa park is definitely a perfect example of creating sustainable habitat area in desert!

After some strolls in lush green park, a funfilled & tasty barbecue and relaxing under a tree & under the star filled sky was so refreshing for us that we felt like we're vacationing outside this harsh desert country!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Nature Lover Lucinda Manouch

I don't remember how I visited the blog, "My Garden" by Lucinda Manouch. But after reading her passionate posts & seeing amazingly beautiful pictures of her garden & it's visitors, I fall in love with the blog. Since then I am following this blog.

Honestly, I did not regularly read her every new post, but in between I used to visit her blog thinking, "let's see what is happening on Lucinda's Garden". Then I would read nearly all posts published on blog since I visited it last. Her compassion for all kinds of visitors to her garden was remarkable though it is a snail or insect or birds or plants. She had great caring towards her garden & tiny things in it. In her writing she used to tell us what happend in her garden that day in such way that you feel so familiar to her Garden & you are a regular visitor but you just missed it this time. I used to feel very close to her love for nature & her garden, that close that I never felt like writing her or conveying her how much I love her Garden.

Just by visiting her blog you feel you just been to a walk in a nature's reserve, you feel that fresh & that close to Nature!

I learnt all about practical gardening from her blog, specially inspiration behind my post "Wildlife conservation from your home" is Lucinda. I always had a very small garden back home, in balcony.... you can't even call it garden. But the garden I always dreamt to have is Lucinda's, though actually seeing the photos I realised how hard it could be to maintain such magnificent garden & not get irritated by insects who are eating small plants & top of it being compassionate to them... it is not everyone's cup of tea. She was a true Nature Lover!

Suddenly in my recent remembrance of Lucinda's garden, I visited her blog & my breath stopped for a moment, her husband posted the news about her passing away peacefully . This very enthusiastic & lively lady had cancer & she was doing gardening, taking care of her plants & visitors of garden & writing blog during all this! She was a famous wildlife photographer, who captured the beauty of nature in Africa, Europe & then in her own garden when travelling became difficult for her.

The blog My Garden is definitely a touching story of Lucinda's courage, kindness, compassion & love for nature. Her husband Alan Manouch is now taking care of her lovely garden & posting the updates. I would like to request you all my friends, to go through her blog & her story of love for nature.

For my Green Living awareness quest, Lucinda will be my inspiration even more than before!

(Photos Credit: Lucinda Manouch)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sustainable Singapore

Last month I visited Singapore while going for vacation in Australia. It is well famous that Singapore is very beautiful lush green city & is a model for new developments. We all know Singapore as "fine city", where there are many strict policies & rules about things & actions inside Singapore which resulted in a clean, properly maintained & functioned example of systematic urban planning.

But when we touched the Changi airport, what strike me most about Singapore, was there sustainable policies & implementation.
You can easily find recycling stations or recycles anywhere in Singapore in place of garbage bins. All those recyclers are not name sake but are properly classified & dedicated for papers, metal, glass, plastic etc everywhere. Around 45% of waste generated in Singapore is recycled at the moment. They produce power in recycling stations as well. The use of recycled material in construction is in common practice in Singapore, when the world is hailing for this requirements for new green buildings!
The MRT metro system is fantastically connected throughout the city & with other transport means, so no wonder people use this public transport as their regular transport, they don't need to have cars to stay in Singapore!
I was impressed by the fantastic system of reusing the MRT tickets. If you buy a single time MRT ticket, you also pay 1$ deposit at pay machine in addition to fair. After you reach your destination, you can put the ticket back in ticket machine & get your 1$ deposit back. So that the MRT ticket is getting reused. Isn't it amazing! I was happy to see one govt. practically care for saving & recycling resources! It is definitely the most sustainable transport system in Asia.
Singapore is proof of 'planning is key to sustainability'. Being a very small country area wise, they do not have enough natural resources. The power is generated on natural gas imported from Malaysia, the lack of enough natural source of drinking water & very small land area are the challenges in front of govt. for not only to make it sustainable city but also to survive self sufficiently.
But in Singapore they are already taking actions to be more self-sufficient & sustainable than any other city. The water is recycled to get ultra clean, high quality "new water" out of it. The 50% area covers already existing water catchment area & they are planning to increase water catchment area more to fulfill Singpore's water needs. Singapore is already investing in solar technology to make it more cost effective & to use it on large scale in future. The long-term plan of Sustainable Singapore 2050 & short-term Singapore Green plan 2012 include many practical sustainable projects like Sun City project to use solar technology, Deep Tunnel Sewerage System to recycle all of the used water , electric vehicles & recharging stations for electric vehicles in infrastructure.

Co incidentally when we were there, the same time World green building council conference was taking place in Singapore. We felt this place deserves to host such world class conferences while educating & displaying visitors a very good example of sustainability within there city.
But most importantly, the Singapore govt only is not taking steps ahead towards sustainability but also the people of Singapore are taking part in it. It is pleasant to see many people walking, cycling on busy roads in temp around 28 degrees. People do recycling of their domestic waste voluntarily.
Just one incident to share with you inline with this. When we were looking for a good restaurant to feast on famous Singaporean Chili Crab, while walking we were about to pass a man who was giving away some brochers outside a shopping complex. My friend who is residing in Singapore told me to ignore that man & walk straight ahead so that we woudn't take that paper (which was of no use to us) instead of taking it & keeping it with us till we find the next paper recycling bin. Suddenly I realised how the green habits are developed in residents in Singapore just by implementing right things in infrastructure!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

My take on Enviro-CSR in Khaleej Times

After BP's oil leak disaster, emptiness in so called "Corporate Social Responsibilities" of giant firms came in light.

Recently UAE's Khaleej Times contacted me to give my views about CSR, specially when it comes to environmental responsibilities. It is published in their 4th Aug issue, click to read full article.

Even though we can see many firms are not very focused on sensible CSR, I personally appreciate some of UAE's organisations & govt. departments like Environmental Agency Abu dhabi, Abu Dhabi Urban planning council, DEWA, Dubai Chamber of commerce for making good differences for environment. They are not doing things to decorate their CSR but they actually want to do something to save environment.

Finally, even if firms are changing their policies positively to be enviro-responsible, succes will always depend on the people working with the firms. Then why to wait for our organisations to take steps? We are all free to be socially & environmentally responsible independently!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Beautiful Summer in UAE

As summer starts in UAE, many people start complaining. Of course the heat is unbearable in summer. But in May & start of June it is still okay. the evenings are not cool but you can go outdoors. If you are well equipped with your sunscreen, cap, goggles & bottle of water; you can give a try to go out in mo rings.

What people do in summer is over cool their houses, offices. Energy gets wasted & on top of it many starts having cold & cough. Sometimes you need to carry coat because it's too cold indoors, specially the cinema theaters!

But have we seen outside of our windows, during these months? What are the changes in nature?Just recently I realised that the dessert & nature in UAE is more beautiful during summer! While staring outside the window on the long journey from Abu Dhabi to Dubai, suddenly I observed the no. of birds flying across the road were more than normal. On Dubai- Abu Dhabi road, there are many trees (some are natural, most are planted). Those trees were full of nests of birds. Some trees were home to 4to 5 nests. The journey became more scenic than before. The other day on same road I observed the dates trees are full of dates, yellow- reddish bunches of dates were hanging low. The date season is started! Then I realised as they have abundant food available, birds are more in numbers.

The communities in Dubai are also full of birds, every day while going to office in morning & coming home in evening, I can see many birds flying all over in Discovery Gardens, a lush green community in Dubai where I stay. Thanks to the landscaping around. The problem of food & water for birds is solved. The birds can get water from water sprinklers installed everywhere in landscaping.

Governments in UAE have taken truely appreciable efforts to make new & sustainable habitats for not just people but birds & plants in dessert!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Abu Dhabi on Water Saving Quest!

Today early morning I heard on radio that Abu Dhabi government is installing water saving devices in Tourist club area for free and my day started with a big smile!

As part of Heroes of the UAE, Abu Dhabi government, The Environmental Agency, Abu Dhabi (EAD) is going to install a simple water saver device in every tap, in every house, every work place in Emirate!

Water is very precious source, specially in this region where there is very little natural source of sweet water. There was always need for water saving in region & This most ambitious, far reaching water conservation camping in the world will definitely is answer to it! Many Congratulations to Abu Dhabi govt & EAD!!!

People are asked to co operate the water saver installer, who will come to your home or office & within some moments his work will be done without any mess.

- This tiny device is installed free of charge

- 30% of water will be saved & potentially 75 billion liters water will be saved for Emirate in a year

- Each household could see the drop of Dhs 100 in water bill per month

- Virtually no difference in water flow, no difference could be noticeable.

In first phase, started on May 27th 2010, water savers will be installed in 55,000 homes in tourist club area & in next 12 months all over Abu Dhabi Emirate

Monday, May 31, 2010

Heroes of the UAE Campaign

When I was volunteering for EWS-WWF under Heroes of UAE campaign (2009-2010), I took part in many awareness activities like making people aware of this campaign, giving tips of energy & water saving, giving away energy saving bulbs, ask people to get involved in it & of course I took pledge & asked my friends and family for the same.

This campaign is started to make people in UAE aware of saving energy, water & resources.

The slogan of the camping gives a fairly good message & idea of campaign, "A sustainable UAE, every child's right"

This nation wide campaign is started by Environment Agency Abu Dhabi with EWS-WWF supported by Abu Dhabi Govt. If you visit heroes of the UAE site you will get a pretty good statistic of current usage of resources in UAE in problems section & in solutions sections tips to overcome the problems.

They started with making individuals take UAE specific practical pledge to save environment.

Ex. increase my room temperature by 2 degrees. or take showers instead of baths.

They asked the children first to take pledge & the campaign was spread in schools showing some very good photos of school heroes.

The energy heroes tell us the tips for saving energy & water heroes ask us to save water.

Recently they added corporate heroes, in which companies in UAE are getting involved. The companies are taking pledge to develop & implement measurable strategy to reduce carbon footprint, document the result achieved etc. There is a useful business toolkit for greening your workplace.

Don't forget to take pledge (and follow it), to become one of official UAE Heroes!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Khors, Lagoons & Mangrove forests in UAE

On my way to work, every day I pass through 4 islands. Yas , Saadiyat, Abu Dhabi main island & finally Sowwah island. Rarely you get such a scenic journey on your way to office. All I see everyday is picture perfect clear sky, blue sea, mangroves, trees & bushes, birds and beautiful islands.
UAE is blessed with number of mangroves along it's coast. unfortunately now most of mangroves are under development. In recent years Environmental impact assessment is done & environmental management plant is implemented while developing near the natural reserves. Some of the mangroves are protected officially. Still question remains developing natural resources is good or bad?

Some typical arguments are always there in UAE, that it is a desert & development creates new habitats. In some case it is very true. Specially the newly developed communities in the dessert of Dubai are lush green round the year, where there was only sun & sand previously.

In the dessert of UAE, Mangroves are home to a different ecosystem since ages. The migrating birds take their halt in theses mangroves during winter.

Let's see Some benefits of mangroves in UAE
- Mangroves are natural habitat of spawning & cultivating ground for large no. of fish.
- Traditionally the trees and shrubs in mangroves are used for fire wood, housing material, charcoal etc.
- Mangroves increase capability to resist effects of cyclone & tidal waves
- Leaves from trees & shrubs are always good food for animals

In UAE 50 sq Km area is covered by mangroves. Many exclusive species in theses mangroves are about to extinguish. To name important mangrove colonies near shore islands and lagoons in UAE,

On west coast of UAE,
1. Ras al Khor- Dubai, Bird sanctuary
2. Many mangroves around Abu Dhabi main land & islands.

3. Ras al khaima- Rabanal, Beushell

4. Umm Al Quwain- Khor al Beidah

5. Khor kalba- Only mangrove on East Coast of UAE
While writing this article I remembered last year I watched documentary film "Marshes and Mangroves" by Animal Planet screening arranged by WWF-EWS. The documentary is focused on mangroves, marshes and wet land areas in world, rich biodiversity found there & how climate change is threatening these mangroves & their habitats. Do not miss to watch this documentary if you get a chance.

With vanishing mangroves the biodiversity is also vanishing. The mangroves are UAE's most significant biological ecosystems and we all need to protect it at least on individual basis!

You might also like to read my experience of mangrove planting in UAE while learning about the unique eco-system of mangroves. Or another post about my experience of seeing mangroves closely when kayaking!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Green Buildings!

Hi Friends, it's been long time that I didn't write any post! We celebrated this year's biggest ever 'Earth hour' by walking near 'Burj Al Arab' but couldn't find time to post about it. The reason is I have started working on my first 'Green building' project! Conserving Environment & making awareness about it is not just passion & hobby for me now, it's my profession! Quite exciting!!

In this blog I never mentioned about Green buildings & LEED. This blog is specially created to make everybody aware of environment, irrespective of one's knowledge about this subject. So I never added any technical information here. But now as everybody is hearing about Green Buildings & have some funny misconception about it. it's time to talk about it!

Here is brief introduction to Green Buildings,
Theses buildings are made sustainable to environment & humans (constructing & occupying the building). These buildings are constructed to reduce adverse effect of buildings on environment & human health.

LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental design), developed by USGBC is a Green Building rating system. Based on certain criteria buildings are certified as 'Green building'. those criteria are,
1. Sustainable sites
2. Water efficiency
3. Energy
4. Materials
5. Environmental Quality

There are some other Green Building rating systems also, Ex. BREEAM, Estidama, Green Globe, Greenstar, Griha.

But again, even if the resources (energy, water etc) saving buildings (Green Buildings), energy saving vehicles, energy saving appliances are coming up all over the world; finally we are the one who will use them. So I feel the change should start from us. We all need to follow Green Living in our own way to save environment, get used to Green Habits & spread the awareness about it!

Here is the poster I made to encourage my collegues to follow Green Building requirements!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Recyling In Sharjah with Beeah

Sharjah Buhaira Corniche looks more beautiful than before, because Bee'ah keeps it clean!

When we used to live in Sharjah, Bee'ah recycling stations used to be integral part of our life. We used to recycle paper, plastic, tin regularly & sincerely...thanks to Beeah!

Bee'ah is a Arabic word for environment! The movement Beeah started in emirate of Sharjah for environment is really appreciable.

When you will enter Sharjah specially after Sharjah city center, you will start noticing waste recycling centers by Bee'ah on the side of roads. These recyclers facilitate to store paper, glass, plastic separately. All these segregated waste is collected and send to waste recycling plant based in Al Saj'ah, Sharjah. Bee'ah offers complete waste management. They have range of street cleaning, waste collection & management products under Tandeef services. They also do public awareness by launching some campaigns & arranging seminar.
I visited Bee'ah stand in biodiversity conference, their enthusiastic employees gave me above information & gifted a very beautiful cotton bag. I loved the quote painted on the bag from Bee'ah, "We care, Do you?"
Keep recycling!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

In the Wadies of UAE!

During the winter season in UAE, it's only perfect time to go outdoors and explore the rich environment and wildlife here!
Recently I have been to Wadies in Fujaira, Wadi AL Asima and Wadi Al Sidra-Sana. Wadi is valley in rocky mountains situated in East coast of UAE. During winter Dec-Feb rare raining occurs. This rain water gets collected in these wadies to form water pool. They have built dams in wadies to collect this rain water and use to for farms. While entering wadies we see many small farms owned by locals. They grow dates, vegetables etc. In middle part of wadi, where the main water pool location is, dense natural plantation is found.

They have built water tanks in these areas. As we travel further in wadi the trees become rare and wadi gets open in larger planes.

What I observed in Wadies :
Wadies are popular outdoors in UAE. So generally in this season many people visit wadies
- People always throw waste after their camping. I found plastic bottles, plastic bags, cans, BBQ coal etc in wadies.
- People also turn on loud music to have fun. which may disturb the wild life which people don't know that it exists.
- To visit wadi we need 4 wheel drive vehicle. but tourists take it just off road drive and they drive ruthlessly to scramble all small new plants and species in wadies.
- many people burn local trees to make campfire. thus they destroy trees which are already less in this region naturally.
- Natural Wadi pool was completely 'unclean'! cans, bottles, disposable glasses, cigarettes were floating in water. creating hazard to local fish species in wadi pool water.

On this back ground the work Fujaira Municipality, WWF-EWS are doing to conserve- clean up wadies & to make people aware about the local environment, flora fauna is very appreciable.

WWF- EWS & Fujaira municipality has protected a very popular & beautiful Wadi Wurayah since March 2009.

To know more or get involved visit,

To see the beautiful photos of Wadi Wurayah,

Friends, now onwards whenever you will go for Wadi Bashing please think of conserving environment!

Monday, February 8, 2010

International Conference on Biodiversity Conservation in Arabian Penninsula, Sharjah

Environment & Protected Area Authority, Government of Sharjah organised first International Conference on Biodiversity Conservation in Arabian Penninsula, Last week in American University of Sharjah. Many local & international scientists, conservationalists were invited to promote opportunities to strenghten and extend biodiversity network on Arabian peninsula.
Many important topics like protection of habitat, managment of protected areas, regional scope & challenges, biodiversity conservation assesment etc were covered in this conference.

As a volunteer for EWS-WWF, I got chance to attented this conference. I was representing EWS-WWF in exhibition of conservation specialist organisations. I enjoyed the work of spreading awareness about UAE's wildlife, need of protection and conservation and projects handeled by EWS. As part of Heroes Of UAE Campaign, we were giving away energy saving bulbs and awareing people about energy conservation in our day to day routine for protecting environment.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

2010- International Year of Biodiversity!

The United Nations declared 2010 as International Year of Biodiversity. It is a celebration of life on the earth and value of biodiversity for our life.

To celebrate the International Biodiversity Year, intiatives are taken through out the world to take direct action to reduce the constant loss of biological diversity worldwide.

To take part in such events in your country visit,
Save Biodiversity!