Abu Dhabi: As 8.30pm struck, thousands of lights were turned off and the iconic structure of the Shaikh Zayed Grand Mosque stood in darkness for an hour. Nearby, the lights on Shaikh Zayed Bridge were dimmed.
Across the capital, hundreds of residents joined the global Earth Hour commemorations as well, switching off their lights at home.
The initiative, which is being marked in Abu Dhabi for the third year, was led by the Municipality of Abu Dhabi City. Lights at the municipality headquarters on Shaikh Zayed Street were switched off to mark the need for energy conservation and sustainability. Other environmentally-friendly family events were organised along the Corniche, including a performance by the Dubai Drums and a walk which saw nearly 8,000 visitors carrying LED-lit lanterns.
Many other organisations also went dark between 8.30pm and 9.30pm, including the Ministry of Interior, as well as a number of hotels and commercial organisations.
Many residents said the yearly event went a long way in promoting environmental consciousness.
“I am an advocate for initiatives like Earth Hour, especially as I believe it is our responsibility to protect the planet,” Madiha Ajaz, a 25-year-old resident from Pakistan, told Gulf News.
Like many others, Ajaz spent the hour outdoors with her family.
Julie Lewis, 50, an avid environmentalist and adventurer from Britain, headed out to the beach near her home.
“In big cities, every step counts in reducing energy use. I have been participating in Earth Hour for the last four years, and was proud to have been a part of it this year as well,” she said.
Others were, however, not as convinced about the efficacy of observing the annual event.
N. Farah, a long-time Abu Dhabi resident and media relations specialist from Lebanon, said most people quickly forget the message of Earth Hour.
“We switch off the lights for an hour, but few people really try to practise energy conservation on a daily basis. Even though people are aware of our dwindling energy resources, few try to make a real change in the way they consume energy,” she said.