Abu Dhabi: Since the first facilities opened on Jubail Island in 2020, the nature-friendly island has highlighted a number of steps to conserve the destination’s nature and surroundings and protect its biodiversity.
With the emirate of Abu Dhabi established as an environmental hotspot, the island is continuing with the vision of the UAE’s founding father, late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, to protect and preserve the mangrove population within the capital and enhance the UAE’s ecosystem.
“While we are proud of what we have achieved in terms of looking after our biodiversity and wildlife that has attracted thousands of visitors to our site and key partnerships being secured, we know there’s so much more we can do. We will ensure that the island will continue to be an eco-friendly destination that will benefit people and our wildlife for years to come,” said Abdulla Al Shamsi, operations corporate director of Jubail Island Investment Company (JIIC).
Here are the island's five initiatives that the island is using to position itself as a sustainable destination:
Jubail Mangrove Park
As one of the most popular landmarks in Abu Dhabi, Jubail Mangrove Park is the first self-contained educational, natural and leisure destination of its kind in the emirate. Since opening in January 2020, the destination has attracted a large number of visitors, including VIPs such as Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, with the opportunity to enjoy the park while appreciating and improving their understanding of the delicate ecosystem and rich biodiversity.
With the mangroves a key feature of the park, cultural and ecological information are also on display throughout the site, making the visits an enjoyable experience.
Jubail Mangrove Park offers various programmes — in partnership with Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD) and other environmental entities of the region — that help raise awareness around the mangroves and their biodiversity. It is also home to educational programmes for school children and companies as part of their CSR programmes to get a chance to explore and learn more about nature, wildlife and mangroves. The park also offers guided tours with rangers and tree-planting opportunities for a lifetime experience with the Island’s mangroves ecosystem.
Jubail Mangrove Park is among the vendors on Baadr, a unique smartphone application launched by the EAD that rewards people for completing different environmental action to protect the environment across Abu Dhabi.
Users can earn points by completing a wide range of tasks that are based on BAADR’s seven different environmental themes: Reuse, Switch, Grow, Initiate, Conserve, Join and Move. Tasks include ways of reducing the amount of water and electricity, buying locally or using public transport.
Users can redeem their points at Jubail Mangrove Park with incentives, including free boardwalk admission at Jubail Mangrove Park, mangrove tree planting activities and a 10 per cent discount on kayaking.
One million mangroves
As part of the UAE’s objective to plant 100 million mangrove trees by 2030, JIIC has pledged to plant an additional one million new mangroves on the island. To date, more than 350,000 seedlings have been planted on Jubail Island.
Mangroves are an important part of UAE’s natural assets. As well providing a haven for wildlife and releasing oxygen, mangroves can also help reduce greenhouse gases that cause climate change. Once the planting process is completed at Jubail Mangrove Park, the 1.35 million trees at the park will help capture an additional 1,150 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.
Partnering with Etihad Airways
JIIC and Etihad Airways signed a strategic agreement earlier this year that will see 182,000 mangrove trees being planted over the next five years at Jubail Island. This new mangrove initiative will allow the introduction of new water channels to increase natural tidal flow conveyance into the surrounding wetland areas at Jubail Island.
The collaboration with Etihad Airways also helps promote Jubail Island as a popular ecotourism destination in Abu Dhabi, attracting international visitors to the island.
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Emirates NBD is also another organisation to join hands with JIIC after announcing an initiative that will see the bank welcome its new clients for the next chapter of their sustainable development journey by gifting them trees. In total, more than 3,000 trees will be planted at the destination.