x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Volunteers get busy to clean up mangroves

The event was the first of nine organised as part of Green Abu Dhabi's Landmark Mangrove Project.

ABU DHABI // An army of enthusiastic volunteers descended on a stretch of mangroves yesterday with gloves and bin liners as part of a mass clean-up.

It was the first of nine organised as part of Green Abu Dhabi's Landmark Mangrove Project.

It was a pleasing moment for an artist, Suhail Jashanmal, who witnessed a mangrove fire in the same spot in 2009. The blaze spurred him to create Green Abu Dhabi the following year.

The initiative has since held events where members of the public have bought art and other items to raise the necessary funds for the mangrove project.

"I put it out and I got really upset, and I wanted to find a way to clean up the mangrove," Mr Jashanmal said. "First, it's important to get our public to even interact with [the mangroves] and understand that they are important.

He said the mangroves "really do need the help".

"Unclogging them in general frees up space within the mangroves for crabs and fish so the mangroves can breath."

Yesterday's event was a corporate clean up. Employees from Mubadala, General Electric (GE), and Mubadala-GE Capital took part, along with their families and other members of the public.

About 60 people set about filling bin liners with discarded items, including plastic bags, old carpets, bottles, cans, disposable plates, cigarette packets and PVC pipe.

Many were surprised by the amount of rubbish at the spot off Salam Street.

"We just hauled in a large bag that weighed 65 kilograms. It took four of us taking turns to drag it in," said Steve Ruth, a Mubadala-GE Capital employee.

The Landmark Mangrove Project is under the patronage of Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, the Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development.

It will take place on the third Friday of the month for the next year, apart from June, July and August.

People who would like to go need to register in advance. Further information is available at www.greenabudhabi.org

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