Ministry, Dibba to plant 2,500 mangroves - GulfToday

Ministry Dibba to plant 2500 mangroves

Thani-Bin-Ahmed-Al-Zeyoudi

“Mangroves have always been an important part of our natural heritage,” said Dr Thani Bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi.

The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) and Dibba Al Fujairah Municipality launched a joint initiative to plant 2,500 mangrove seedlings at Al Badiya area in Fujairah, situated along the east coast of the UAE. The drive aims to rehabilitate coastal and marine habitat, increase green cover, and safeguard local biodiversity.

Dr Thani Bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, said: “Mangroves have always been an important part of our natural heritage. They offer a wealth of benefits that range from water filtration and sanitation to enhancing climate change resilience through carbon sequestration and serving as a home for a large number of marine species. Moreover, mangroves help protect the coastline against storm damage and erosion, in addition to promoting ecotourism due to their rich biodiversity.”

He added: “Recognising these benefits, we are keen to cultivate mangroves along the country’s coastline. We previously collaborated with local authorities to plant mangroves at Al Zorah Natural Reserve in Ajman and Al-Muzahmi Protected Area in Ras Al Khaimah. Today, we are pleased to continue our efforts in partnership with Dibba Al Fujairah Municipality.”

For his part, Eng Hassan Salem Al Yamahi, Director General of Dibba Al Fujairah Municipality, said: “In addition to its positive environmental impact that includes boosting the UAE’s fisheries, the initiative will enhance the aesthetic appeal of the area and create a new tourist attraction.”

 He noted that the Government of Fujairah is dedicated to environmentally sustainable development, as the emirate hosts five marine protected areas.

 As part of the drive, MOCCAE’s technical team surveyed the east coast at Al Badiya to ensure its suitability as a mangrove habitat in terms of soil type, tidal levels, and existing biodiversity. The Ministry plans to closely monitor the site and record seedling growth rates.

In January last year, Dr Al-Zeyoudi announced the launch of two environmental initiatives by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, MOCCAE, for 2018 that has been declared the Year of Zayed.

The first initiative will include planting 30,000 mangrove trees, the second to cultivate coral gardens, both geared to developing the coastal and marine areas in the UAE.

Dr Al-Zeyoudi said, “The two initiatives are part of the Ministry’s strategy for 2017-2021, which aims to achieve the sustainability of natural ecosystems, conserving biodiversity and reducing the impacts of climate change. Both initiatives contribute to safeguarding biodiversity in the country, and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the air through the sequestration of carbon dioxide – these initiatives support the country in achieving the goal of sustainability as outlined in the UAE Vision 2021. The Ministry will coordinate with local authorities in each emirate to determine the locations to implement the initiatives.”

He noted that the protection of biodiversity is a cornerstone of the UAE’s environmental conservation and development policy and is aligned with the UAE Vision 2021, as a primary responsibility of the Ministry of Climate Change and the Environment. He also noted that work is ongoing through a series of national programs to achieve the goals outlined in the National Biodiversity Strategy prepared by the Ministry in conjunction with environmental and concerned authorities in the UAE.

Dr. Al-Zeyoudi went on to say that via such efforts to protect biodiversity in the country, the Ministry underlines its commitment to collaborating with its partners and stakeholders in the public and private sectors to promote ecotourism, rehabilitate natural areas and consolidate the UAE’s position as one of the main destinations for such tourism on the global map.

A report in October last year said the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) completed a detailed mapping and health assessment of mangroves in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, revealing that more than 80% of existing mangroves are healthy while 15% were identified as being in moderate health and 5% were identified as being in deteriorating health. The deteriorating health conditions could be attributed to recent developmental activities around Abu Dhabi Island.