Abu Dhabi: Growing coconuts, shrubs and flowering plants enough for them to thrive in a desert clime requires devotion.
That’s why social media users have admired Sinan Al Awsi, 62, for his incredible accomplishment of planting 200 trees in his district here.
The Iraqi engineer, who has lived in the United Arab Emirates since 1999, worked tirelessly for seven years to turn Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Street, also known as Airport Road, into a verdant paradise.
Al Awsi painstakingly planted 105 coconut trees, 104 plumeria trees, more than 80 shrubs, and more than 80 flowers throughout this time, embellishing a 500-meter length with colorful vegetation. This remarkable undertaking was motivated by his desire to improve his area.
Al Awsi acquired a lorryload of specially selected dirt, put in water lines, and painstakingly planted each tree to realize his vision.
“The Abu Dhabi Municipality has been incredibly supportive, granting me permission to extend my tree-planting efforts,” he expressed gratefully.
Al Awsi’s exceptional dedication caught the attention of UAE President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The esteemed recognition Al Awsi received during his meeting with Sheikh Mohamed at Qasr Al Bahr filled him with overwhelming joy and pride.
In his own words, Al Awsi shared, “Sheikh Mohamed’s reception was a medal on my chest and a great honour that cannot be summarized in a few lines. I am immensely grateful to President Sheikh Mohamed for acknowledging my initiative. As an Iraqi, I am proud to contribute to the ecosystem and sustainability of Abu Dhabi, my second homeland.”
Eng. Al Awsi, known for his involvement in prominent engineering projects such as the Sheikh Zayed Bridge, found a new purpose taking shape. Alongside his professional endeavors, he embarked on his horticultural journey, devoting countless hours to nurture and care for the trees he planted.
Speaking to Gulf News, Al Awsi explained that his initiative to plant and maintain trees was his way of expressing gratitude to the UAE, his second home, which has welcomed and supported him and his family for the past 24 years. His efforts focused on a 500-metre stretch of Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Street, better known as "Airport Street".
This green transformation included a remarkable selection of 105 coconut trees, known for their low maintenance requirements and self-cleaning capabilities, and 104 plumeria trees, boasting captivating colors and fragrant aromas. In addition, he adorned the front of his building with 30 trees of different varieties, such as Cestrum and Thai Jasmine.
Caring for the trees became an integral part of Al Awsi’s daily routine, dedicating two hours each day—one in the morning before work and another in the afternoon after work. He revealed that the most labor-intensive tasks were typically reserved for Fridays.
The tree-planting initiative took place in two phases. The first phase commenced in 2005 but had to be paused in 2012 due to housing and workplace-related reasons.
However, in 2017, Al Awsi resumed his noble endeavor, which has persisted until the present day.
Reflecting on his choice of coconut trees, Al Awsi highlighted their effortless maintenance. “Coconut trees naturally cleanse themselves, requiring minimal intervention apart from regular irrigation and leaf removal. In contrast, date palms require cleaning four times a year, not to mention the additional tasks of pollination and harvesting,” he explained.
Passion for greening
At 62 years old, Al Awsi graduated from the University of Baghdad with a degree in Civil Engineering, Class of 1983.
His passion for agriculture developed during his childhood, inspired by his late father. He currently resides in Abu Dhabi with his wife, son, and three daughters. One of his daughters holds a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering, another in Architecture, while the third is a dentistry graduate. Al Awsi’s son is pursuing dentistry studies in the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah.
Throughout his career, Al Awsi has contributed to various private sector companies as a road and bridge consulting engineer. Notable projects under his belt include the iconic Sheikh Zayed Bridge, the Sweihan Bridge, the Al Mirfa Bridge, and maintenance work on several bridges within Abu Dhabi Island.
Eng. Sinan Al Awsi’s remarkable accomplishment stands as a testament to his dedication and love for his second homeland, Abu Dhabi.
His green oasis on Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Street serves as a shining example of individual initiative and commitment to the environment.