The hawksbill turtle, one of the many animals to make Bu Tinah island its home, will continue to do so thanks to local efforts to protect them. Recycle your old mobile devices at any Nokia Care Centre in the UAE, Oman, and Qatar and get a chance to 'adopt' one of 200 endangered hawksbill turtles Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: While Abu Dhabi's Bu Tinah island did not make the list for the New Seven Wonders of Nature, the overwhelming support and awareness it has received as a result of the Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi's (EAD) 20-month campaign, more than makes up for its loss.

As well as reaching people in the UAE and across the GCC countries, the ‘Vote Bu Tinah' campaign has motivated members of the public to become more eco-friendly.

According to the EAD, a survey revealed that 93 per cent of residents said they would be more conscious about protecting the environment.

"I had never really thought about being eco-friendly... but after visiting the exhibition on the Corniche, I was motivated to learn about what I can do... hopefully, I'll be able to motivate others to do the same," Elizabeth Brooks, a 30-year-old British expatriate and mother-of-two, said.

More than 70,000 visitors flocked to the interactive Bu Tinah Experience exhibition on the Abu Dhabi Corniche while 60,000 individuals registered as ‘fans' on the Bu Tinah Facebook page. Bu Tinah was also regularly featured as one of the top ten subjects being discussed on Twitter in the UAE. Additionally, many exhibitions and events, organised by the EAD, educational institutions and members of the public, also served to raise support for the campaign.

"I've been encouraging people to vote for Bu Tinah since January... I visited schools, governmental organisations, public areas, and even would take my laptop on the street to motivate people to vote," Mohammad Esmail, an Indian expatriate based in Dubai, said. His daughter, Alisha, a grade six pupil at the New Indian Model School, also helped.

More conscious

"While I'm sad that Bu Tinah is not one of the new Seven Wonders, I'm still hoping there might be a chance it will be, since its website said that the locations announced are provisional. But I'm also glad that it has made people more environmentally conscious," he added.

‘Voted Bu Tinah', which concluded on Friday, was launched under the patronage of Shaikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Ruler's Representative in the Western Region and Chairman of the Board of the Environment Agency — Abu Dhabi (EAD).

It was supported by members of the ruling families, ministers from the UAE Federal Cabinet, local celebrities, sportspeople, marine enthusiasts, motorcycle clubs, students, schoolchildren and many others.

"It is fitting that, as we approach the 40th anniversary of [the UAE], that Bu Tinah has served to unite... residents... and beyond in appreciation of our nation's natural heritage and its importance on the global stage," Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, Secretary General, EAD, said in a statement yesterday.