Boost for UAE's green campaign, as 2,000 native Sidra, Ghaf trees were planted in Dubai, RAK

Dubai - 641 entities, including 92 companies, 36 schools, 56 individuals and 184 families take part in annual drive that was launched in 2007

By Saman Haziq

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Published: Tue 22 Dec 2020, 10:24 AM

Around 2,000 trees were planted across the emirates of Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) in a bid to protect the environment from global warming.

The annual tree planting campaign -- called “For Our Emirates We Plant” -- was conducted by the Emirates Environmental Group (EEG) on Sunday (December 20).

The response to the campaign was overwhelming, as 641 entities, including 92 companies, 36 schools, 56 individuals and 184 families took part.

The UAE’s indigenous Ghaf and Sidra trees that not only represent the heritage of the nation but can also survive and thrive in the harsh desert conditions were planted on the occasion by environment-friendly people.

The trees will attain maturity between five and seven years, and will help lessen over 31 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide, which are released to the atmosphere annually.

The plantation drive was carried out early in the morning on Sunday at Skheiber and Al Minae in RAK. Around 1,000 trees indigenous to the UAE were planted on the occasion.

The second initiative was organised in association with Dubai Municipality and Saih Al Salam Protected Area Management, at Saih Al Salam and Al Qudra in Dubai, where another 1,000 trees were planted.

Millions of indigenous trees were planted by the EEG since the campaign was launched in 2007.

Data showed that 2,100,789 indigenous and desert-tolerant plants were planted across the UAE since the inception of the campaign to spread ecological awareness.

These trees sequester 12,388 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere annually, which work out to 2,564 less cars from roads in a year.

Sidr and Ghaf trees are known for withstanding extreme weather conditions of the desert.

Sidr is a natural habitat for bees.

Ghaf, the UAE’s symbol for the Year of Tolerance that was observed last year, is known for improving the quality of the soil, and helps battle climate change by taking in up to 34.65 kilograms (kg) of carbon dioxide emissions per tree, per year.

A Ghaf tree, which has a longevity of up to 120 years, can absorb over 4.1 million tonnes of carbon dioxide during its lifespan.

Habiba Al Mar’ashi, the chairperson of EEG, waxed eloquent about the annual campaign, which is getting bigger and better each year.

“The joint movement of the UN's Environment Programme and Food and Agriculture Organisation at restoring the ecosystem to negate over 26 gigatons of greenhouse gases is a wake-up call to the world of the urgent need for action at both local, regional and international level.”

She added: “2020 has seen a series of challenges, a trail for humanity. From the uncountable environmental disaster such as massive uncontrollable forest fires, locust swarms, heat waves, mass extinctions, hurricanes, the unexpected pandemic and so many more circumstances and occurrences raging throughout the globe. As social beings, the existential need to work together, to callout our faults and take actions to correct them is now.”

She said that EEG has blended its recycling programmes and projects with the annual plantation drive.

The entities that achieve recycling goals under these projects are eligible to plant trees in their names at the end of the year.

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