Dubai: Flowers made of plastic bottles form stunning garden

Art meets sustainability at COP28; another eco wonder is a pavilion made of palm tree waste


Nandini Sircar

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Photos: Supplied
Photos: Supplied

Published: Fri 1 Dec 2023, 9:06 PM

Last updated: Sun 3 Dec 2023, 2:36 PM

As COP 28 prepares to welcome the public soon, two distinctive installations crafted from recycled plastic bottles and palm tree waste are sure to captivate visitors in the Green Zone of the Expo City.

Among them, an ‘Arabic flower’ Meez Garden made up of innumerable recycled plastic bottles and a kiosk fashioned from three tons of plastic waste, featuring a compelling portrait of the UAE's Founding Father, is set to turn heads.

The Meez Garden flourishes as an extension of the Koklyko project conceived by French artist Jerome Toq’r back in 2013.

Inspired by the indigenous “Al Meez”, a flower native to the mountains of Ras Al Khaimah, this installation is a fusion of artistic expression and environmental mindfulness.

Through close collaboration with students from RAK Academy, the artwork springs to life through the collection and conversion of 500 plastic bottles into vibrant floral creations.

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Each blossom mirrors a collective endeavour, showcasing a commitment to preserving the environment.

Supported by His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi Foundation for Policy Research, this art installation will also make its way to the Ras Al Khaimah Art Festival in 2024.

Dr Natasha Ridge, Founding Executive Director of Sheikh Saud Al Qasimi Foundation of Policy Research states, “Al Meez garden exemplifies the harmonious fusion of art and environmental consciousness demonstrating unity and commitment to climate action. This collaboration with ZeeArts, artist TOQ’R and RAK Academy students underscores the transformative power of collective action and emphasizes Ras Al Khaimah’s role in COP 28.”

“The project reflects the foundation’s mission highlighting the importance of community engagement, youth empowerment, and environmental stewardship for a sustainable future,” she added.

The artwork effortlessly blends with its environment, mirroring a natural garden.

It's only upon a closer look that one can make out the intricate flowers are created from discarded plastic.

Upcycled pavilion

Similarly, a big pavilion located at the Climate Finance Stage, hosting multiple fireside chats centred on climate action, stands out as a distinctive display constructed from three tonnes of deceased palm trees.

The date palm, a pivotal tree in the Middle Eastern region, yields a significant amount of annual waste, encompassing fibrous materials, dried fruits, and seeds.

This waste represents a valuable and easily degradable biomass, holding tremendous potential for various applications, such as natural fibre composites, precursors for active carbon, and the production of nanostructured sheets.

The Mashreq Pavilion at COP 28 stands as a beacon of environmental advocacy and innovation.

Amidst the pavilion’s artful structure, a colossal picture dominated one section—a tribute crafted from the majestic date palm tree, honoring the legacy of Late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

However, the pavilion isn't just a spectacle of artistry, it is a call to action as well.

It's beckoning eco champions and environmental enthusiasts to join forces in the endeavor. Their mission is to embark on a monumental cleanup initiative targeting 14 of the Earth's mightiest mountains.

First-time visitor to the UAE, French national Daria Moreau said: “It’s beautiful. I couldn’t really believe it was made of 3 tonnes of palm trees. Its architectural prowess constructed primarily from upcycled materials narrated tales of sustainability and resourcefulness. Recycling is an initiative to get everyone encouraged in an entertaining way to be a part of climate conversations and talks.”

Another visitor Natalia Davis said: “The date palm is the cornerstone of the civilisation in the Middle East, is what I known. This exhibit is truly unique. If not for the side note on it here, I might not have realized that I am currently seated under a pavilion constructed from date palms.


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