Planting trees, testing aircraft and tasting 'nature' cuisine: How the UAE marked Earth Day

Public and private institutions across country got together to draw attention to the climate crisis



by

Dhanusha Gokulan

Published: Fri 22 Apr 2022, 10:18 PM

Earth Day is an opportunity to highlight the UAE and Dubai’s contributions to mobilise global efforts to fight climate change, said a top official as the world marked Earth Day with a commitment to make a difference.

Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, managing director and CEO of DEWA said, “We will do that by hosting major international events with an array of decision-makers and senior officials and stakeholders in climate change to discuss key sustainable solutions. These events include the Expo 2020 Dubai, the MENA Climate Week, and the World Green Economy Summit.

“The UAE is also preparing to host the 28th Conference of the Parties (COP28).”

What the UAE did for Earth Day?

Covering a wide-range of issues ranging from sustainable fashion to environment literacy, Earth Day 2022 was celebrated across the world under the theme ‘Invest in our planet’. The UAE government has taken multiple steps to ensure sustainable development while preserving the environment, including the most recent ban on single-use plastics which would come into effect in June this year. The pillars of Dubai Integrated Strategy 2030 focus on diversifying energy sources.

Suleiman Al Zaben, director at Juma Al Majid Establishment, the general distributor of Hyundai Motor Company in the UAE, said: “The automotive sector, especially Hyundai, is actively participating event to reduce carbon emissions and motivate people to respond to it through their daily activities. Let us come together for Earth Day and consistently seek a sustainable life for our communities and the world at large.”

Public and private institutions across UAE also marked this special day to draw attention to the climate crisis. Hotels, shopping malls, restaurants, corporations, schools, and retail outlets joined the Earth Day event with a raft of activities for both kids and adults.

Here are the top four ways UAE celebrated Earth Day

> Civil aviation sector led the way

UAE’s national carrier Etihad Airways undertook a week of intensive research and testing on over 30 flights to test operational efficiencies, technology and procedures that will reduce carbon emissions.

The week-long programme, which coincided with Earth Day on April 22, included over 20 commercial flights operating across Etihad’s network to test contrail avoidance technologies, in partnership with SATAVIA, a UK-based green aerospace company.

The airline will operate up to 13 dedicated ‘EcoFlights,’ testing a range of flight and engine optimisation initiatives, with successful trials to be incorporated into regularly scheduled operations. Each of these flight tests will be conducted on Etihad’s fleet of fuel-efficient A350 and 787 aircraft, spearheaded by the ‘Etihad Greenliner’, and Etihad’s newest aircraft, the ‘Sustainable 50’.

> Tree plantation in UAE

Integrated solutions provider Dulsco launched a CSR project in support of the UAE’s vision to plant 100 million mangrove by 2030. A number of mangroves were planted by Dulsco employees in celebration of Earth Day. In its first phase, 65 mangrove trees were planted by the company’s employees in Al Zorah, Ajman.

> Enjoying culinary dishes ‘rooted in nature’

To mark the occasion, new culinary dishes were introduced across Shangri-La hotels in the region, highlighting the importance of sustainable dining through ethically sourced ingredients found on the menus year-round. Guests can identify Rooted in Nature menu items by spotting the peashoot logo beside the dish-description on all restaurant menus.

Shangri-La Dubai served quality Cantonese cuisine at Shang Palace with braised local seabream sourced from Dubai’s Khor Fakkan for example.

> Recycling of old electronic items

UAE residents were given the opportunity to recycle their old electronic items, instead of throwing them into the bin. ACE Hardware is encouraging customers to bring in their old electronic items which can be recycled at its stores. The store has collected 4,000kg of e-waste and batteries in its Dubai stores.

UN warning

The United Nations has warned the Earth is facing a ‘triple planetary crisis’: climate disruption, nature and biodiversity loss, and pollution and waste.

“This triple crisis is threatening the well-being and survival of millions of people around the world. The building blocks of happy, healthy lives – clean water, fresh air, a stable and predictable climate – are in disarray, putting the Sustainable Development Goals in jeopardy,” António Guterres, the UN Secretary-General said in a video message for International Mother Earth Day 2022.

The good news is that there is still hope. Guterres reminded the world’s citizens that 50 years ago, the world came together in Stockholm for the pivotal UN Conference on the Human Environment, which kickstarted a global movement.“Since then, we have seen what is possible when we act as one. We have shrunk the ozone hole. We have expanded protections for wildlife and ecosystems. We have ended the use of leaded fuel, preventing millions of premature deaths. And just last month, we launched a landmark global effort to prevent and end plastic pollution.”

‘’International Mother Earth Day is a chance to reflect on how humanity has been treating our planet, and let’s face it: we’ve been poor custodians. And while a steady stream of reports has painted a legitimately worrying picture of the current state of the planet, don’t lose hope: there are more innovative ideas for serious climate action than ever and more and more people around the world are working together on solutions to help repair the damage that’s been done to our fragile home,” he stated.

“Since then, we have seen what is possible when we act as one. We have shrunk the ozone hole. We have expanded protections for wildlife and ecosystems. We have ended the use of leaded fuel, preventing millions of premature deaths. And just last month, we launched a landmark global effort to prevent and end plastic pollution.”

‘’International Mother Earth Day is a chance to reflect on how humanity has been treating our planet, and let’s face it: we’ve been poor custodians. And while a steady stream of reports has painted a legitimately worrying picture of the current state of the planet, don’t lose hope: there are more innovative ideas for serious climate action than ever and more and more people around the world are working together on solutions to help repair the damage that’s been done to our fragile home,” he stated.

dhanusha@khaleejtimes.com


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