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!