The Eastern mangroves area in Abu Dhabi is now free of 500 kg of garbage, which includes plastics and metal glass collected from the water and offshore. 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 recently. 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, as well as a unique picnic destination very popular among nature lovers. The clean-up drive saw the participation of more than 150 volunteers from different governmental and private organisations in Abu Dhabi. Among these entities include the Centre of Waste Management - Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Municipality, Traffic and Patrols Directorate - Abu Dhabi Police, Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation, Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, NMC Specialty Hospital -Abu Dhabi, Spark Security Services and a number of community members.
The garbage was removed 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 the EAD under the theme 'Together we make a Difference' in 2018 to clean beaches, diving sites, deserts and other habitats in different locations of the emirate and to involve the community in environmental conservation.
Khansa Al Blouki, the EAD's acting director of environmental outreach, said, "Mangroves are an important part of Abu Dhabi's natural ecosystem, which extends over 150km² of natural and planted mangroves. They provide a rich natural habitat and safe breeding ground for several fish species. Sea birds also find safe nesting and egg laying areas in the vast mangrove forests."
Al Blouki added, "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."