The Municipality of Abu Dhabi City emphasized the importance of stepping up the cooperation between GCC countries in protecting the marine environment from all sources of pollution and streamlining the utilization of water resources. The importance of the Arabian Gulf is not only attributed to being an important intermediary and a strategic international navigation passageway, but also as a major source of food and economic development, and a renewable source of desalinated drinking water supplies in the region.
In the workshop held to mark the Gulf Environment Day attended by engineers & technicians of the Municipality as well as representatives of contractors and consultants, the Municipality highlighted the importance of raising the environmental awareness amongst citizens of the region, boosting the spirit of responsibility in safeguarding & protecting the marine environment, ensuring its sustainability and conserving its resources.
Engineer Rashid Al Falasi, Director of Parks & Recreational Facilities, Municipality of Abu Dhabi City, said: “Celebrating the (Regional) Gulf Environment Day on April 24th is meant to commemorate the signing by the regional countries of the Kuwait Regional Pact for Protecting the Marine Environment 1978; which paved the way for establishing the Regional Conference of Plenipotentiaries on the Protection and Development of the Marine Environment on 1st July 1979, and it is a day devoted to commending and showcasing efforts and achievements made in this regard.
“This celebration is considered an environmental event for manifesting the cooperation between countries of the region to conserve the marine environment and chart out a general and clear strategy for coping with it, particularly as GCC countries have geographical, strategic and economic importance.
“The UAE has gone far & wide with its pioneering efforts to protect, develop and rehabilitate various natural & new environments, including the marine environment, according to their peculiarities through having in place a number of plans for protecting it from harmful effects resulting from damage inflicted on the environment, public health and natural resources (such as enacting legislation regulating sustainability and pollution prevention measures; which will have negative impacts on the environment).
He stressed the importance of Mangrove trees which span an area of 40 square km across the coasts of the Emirate, being the only type that has proved successful in settling in the UAE environment, thanks to its distinctive features as the most salt-tolerant compared with the other species of Mangroves. He also emphasized the importance of making expeditious efforts by public and private organizations towards caring and protecting the environment from anything that might cloud its purity & balance (especially the indiscriminate leveling of soil, marine pollution, and irrational abuses), stressing that it is a collective responsibility requiring the involvement of all members of the community to maintain it along with the plantation made and the revival in many coastal locations.
"The mangrove environment is characterized by high vitality, and frequented by many species of amphibians and birds such as turtles, dugongs, fish, ibis, herons, flamingos among others, which share the use of land and water system as a refuge and a source of food.
"Through the relevant divisions, the Municipality of Abu Dhabi City is cautiously endeavoring that its development activities do not inflict any harm on the mangrove environment. It rather seeks to create the opportune conditions that contribute to the recovery of mangrove tress in order to preserve their rich nature being the most attractive natural wildlife landscape in the city," added Al Falasi.
Dr. Abdul Sattar Salih Al Mashhadani, city landscaping expert delivered a lecture entitled "Environmental Touches for Sustainable Parks," outlining the benefits of parks and reviewed the key elements of constructing them, the environmental considerations to be observed when selecting the best design and the most important practical methods of making them environmentally friendly by following several sustainable environmental practices.
Al Mashhadani called upon the attendees to support the country's efforts to reduce the shortage of water supply and improve water sustainability in the future by diffusing, adopting and depending on most efficient water rationalization practices, including encouraging cultivation of native plants, adopting the most effective methods to irrigate plants and preparing soil as per the requirements of the selected species of plant.
It is worth noting that this year's festivity is entitled, "Algae and Fisheries" due to their mutual influence and vital link. The organization has chosen this slogan due to the recurrence of the phenomenon of eutrophication that causes red/green tides depending on the quality of algae forming this phenomenon, which, if severe, causes large amounts of fish and other marine creatures to perish due to the acute shortage in oxygen, not to mention the spread of odors in the affected areas and its harmful impact on desalination plants.