Participants at an outdoor workshop organised by the Mansour Bin Mohammad Photography Awards last week by Jasem Al Awadi, General Secretary of the award. The workshop that was held under the theme ‘Life in Bastakiya’ and took place in Al Bastakiya area in Dubai, is in line with the award’s aims at running the largest photographic campaign within the UAE by encouraging professional and talented photographers to take pictures and document life in civil society of cities, villages and other parts of the UAE. The purpose of the workshop and other educational lectures is to generate knowledge of UAE’s historical areas and encourage photographers to take the initiative to document UAE society through their lenses. Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: A project named ‘Green Mosques' will reduce the water and electricity consumption at 300 mosques in Dubai by 20 per cent which will in turn save Dh6 million per annum.

Shaikh Abdul Aziz Bin Ali Al Nuaimi of the ruling family of Ajman, popularly known as "Green Shaikh" mentioned the project among the eco-friendly initiatives in the country in a seminar in Abu Dhabi.

Speaking to Gulf News, he said, a consultant identified 300 mosques that paid Dh26 million as water and electricity charges last year. "The bills could be Dh32 million this year [if the same consumption rate continues]. The project envisages saving Dh 6 million by reducing water and electricity consumption by 20 per cent," Shaikh Abdul Aziz explained.

The saved money could be used for productive purposes, he said. He urged the participation of the public in such projects. " I am not asking for money or sponsorships but your expertise and talent."
Abu Dhabi Airport Company (Adac) and Etihad Airways jointly organised the seminar at Adac headquarters on Wednesday to shed light on environmental friendly habits, individuals and corporations can adopt to reduce resource consumption.

As Gulf News reported on July 5, 2010, hidden cameras placed at three Dubai mosques had revealed that too much water was wasted from fast-flowing taps in wudu or ablution areas. The cameras were set up as part of an experiment by an official at the Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department to see first-hand how water is consumed by devotees. Litres of water are left to pour down the drain while people remove socks and shoes, chat, with some even taking a long-time to perform wudu.

Gulf News also reported on December 4, 2010 how self-stopping taps installed in the ablution area of one Dubai mosque saved huge amount of water. The consumption of water dropped by more than 15,000 gallons in one month — an overall saving of 30 per cent.

Issues: Lack of awareness

Some people watch the news but they treat the contents on policy matters as unrelated to them, said Shaikh Abdul Aziz Bin Ali Al Nuaimi responding to a question on a recent survey report that only 25 per cent of Emiratis were aware of climate change issues.

He said he is making special project to promote environmental awareness among Emiratis. "It will be my gift to them," Shaikh Abdul Aziz said.