Video: 10-yr-old Emirati boy creates green-eyed 'Mr COP', takes him to Dubai for a mission

The boy from Abu Dhabi turns his old toy car into a robot that now roams around Expo City as an 'environmental crusader'

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Angel Tesorero

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Photos by M. Sajjad/Khaleej Times
Photos by M. Sajjad/Khaleej Times

Published: Sat 9 Dec 2023, 4:51 PM

Last updated: Sun 10 Dec 2023, 8:44 PM

After his school exam, 10-year-old Emirati student Messed Salim AlKhuzaimi rushed to Expo City Dubai all the way from Abu Dhabi with one goal in mind: To display his creation named 'Mr COP'.

This mister is not just any other gentleman, he is a roving battery-powered toy car that carries an important environmental message.

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“I created Mr COP as a mascot for COP28. I used a cardboard to form the robot and my old RC (remote-controlled) toy car for the platform,” AlKhuzaimi told Khaleej Times.

The roving robot is barely 1.5ft tall and weighs less than 1kg. It has green eyes and a brown body. It carries a small UAE flag and its pocket is packed with leaflets.

MR COP robot created by Ten-year-old Emirati boy Messed Salim Alkhuzaimi. (Photo: M. Sajjad/Khaleej Times)
MR COP robot created by Ten-year-old Emirati boy Messed Salim Alkhuzaimi. (Photo: M. Sajjad/Khaleej Times)

Roving green robot

Using a remote control, AlKhuzaimi and Mr COP roamed the Green Zone – from the iconic Al Wasl Dome to the nearby pavilions, explaining to curious onlookers what their missions are.

Able to speak eloquently in both Arabic and English, AlKhuzaimi said: “Mr COP has two missions: First is to attract young people like me to do recycling and, second, to let people know about COP and the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”

The message of recycling is strong in AlKhuzaimi’s creation as he upcycled his old toy car and turned it into an “environmental crusader”. He also did not shy away from explaining to anyone the main points of the SDGs and why it is “important to tackle climate change and protect our environment".

AlKhuzaimi originally wanted Mr COP to be solar-powered but the mini-solar panels he ordered online did not come on time. “I will do some modifications and upgrade him. Here in the UAE, we have lots of sunlight that we can use for energy all year round. I will replace the traditional batteries and use the sun as a power source, so there will be no carbon emissions or pollution,” he added.

Ten-year-old Emirati boy Messed Salim Alkhuzaimi, with his MR COP robot at COP28 UAE, held at Expo City in Dubai on December 8, 2023. (Photo: M. Sajjad/Khaleej Times)
Ten-year-old Emirati boy Messed Salim Alkhuzaimi, with his MR COP robot at COP28 UAE, held at Expo City in Dubai on December 8, 2023. (Photo: M. Sajjad/Khaleej Times)

'We must act now'

AlKhuzaimi, who is accompanied by his mother Ruqayya, also has a personal message to share with his children his age.

“Adults always say that our generation is the future of the world. And yes, we are the future leaders. But we must act now – we need to help the current leaders and do our part, even in our own small ways, to make the world better," he said.

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