UAE: Expat plants hundreds of trees on street outside home; transforms locality into green oasis

So green was his project that UAE President Sheikh Mohamed met him to personally applaud his efforts


Ruqayya Al Qaydi

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Published: Thu 15 Jun 2023, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Thu 15 Jun 2023, 4:23 PM

Iraqi expatriate Sinan Al Awsi used to see people walk under the noon sun when he looked out of his window. This observation is what led to him planting hundreds of trees on the Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Street in Abu Dhabi.

His ambitious project now shades nearly half a kilometre, with a stunning collection of 239 trees, carefully selected to withstand Abu Dhabi's climate. The green cover includes everything from coconut trees to vibrant blossoming flora.

The transformation of his neighbourhood has been so green that it even caught the eye of the UAE President, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Sheikh Mohamed received Al Awsi at his palace, applauding the latter’s efforts. The UAE President reiterated that all residents of the UAE are valued partners in the nation's development process.

For the expat, the meeting characterised unparalleled joy and humility.

In an exclusive interview with Khaleej Times, he expressed his gratitude. "I never expected to find myself to be there. The work I embarked upon was driven by goodwill. There's an old Iraqi saying that perfectly encapsulates my sentiments towards the Emirates: 'Nothing is wasted in your face, O Emirates.' This means no efforts go to waste in the UAE.

How it all began

Al Awsi, who is 62 years old, came to the UAE in 1999 and works as a consulting engineer for roads and bridges. One of his notable projects is his participation in the construction of the Sheikh Zayed Bridge in Abu Dhabi.

Al Awsi revealed that he chose coconut trees because they are self-cleaning and do not require much maintenance.

Curious minds wonder how an engineer became so deeply intertwined with the art of gardening. Al Awsi explained that in Iraqi households, they allocate spacious areas for plants. He acquired this passion from his father during his childhood when he used to help him.

Taking care of his beloved trees

Balancing his career as an engineer and taking care of these trees, he ensures that no day goes by without tending to his beloved plants — whether it be before the start of a workday or upon returning home.

However, the highlight of his week arrives on Friday mornings, as he devotes an extensive four hours to immerse himself in the care and maintenance of his green haven.

The impact of Al Awsi inspiring work extends far beyond the borders of his immediate surroundings. Enthusiasm and admiration reverberate throughout the community, as neighbours and passers-by lend their helping hands. The heartfelt encouragement and kind words he receives fuel his determination to persist on this path of green transformation.

Al Awsi dedication to his cause has not gone unnoticed. Prior to his encounter with Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, he received widespread recognition and captured the hearts of the nation through social media.


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