Thursday, February 7, 2013

Giving Back to Mother Earth

Fridays are always precious for me because it is the only day of the week that I can get to sleep in.  However, for the sake of personal social responsibility, I sacrificed one Friday morning to spend with nature and give a fraction of my time to save the earth in my own little way.

Last weekend, I had the honor of joining the “One Day To Make a Difference” CSR event in Emirates Marine Environmental Group (EMEG) in Ghantoot.  EMEG, who warmly welcomed us in their reserve area, is a non-profit organization that deals with the environmental issues in the UAE.  The morning activity was well-attended by EMEG volunteers as well as individuals from Deutsche Bank, Barclays, Transguard, Johnson Controls, DIFC and Goumbook.  I think all in all we were about roughly 200 in the area including kids. Each of us were given t-shirts that were actually made of recycled plastic bottles and nylon ropes.  Isn't that cool?

We started the day by watching a film about EMEG and their endeavors.  Then the real work began.

The group was divided into two.  The group where I belonged to were assigned to do the planting first. So yes, we were the first to get wet.  Not that it matters, really :p Each of us picked out a mangrove seedling and planted them in the muddy area of the reserve.  Mangroves are quite useful to sweeten the water and provide homes for species of plants and animals.  That helps a lot in the circle of life.

me & my mangrove seedling

After we’ve planted each of our mangrove seedlings, we proceeded to another section of the reserve to clean the algae.  Do you know that dried algae is used to clean oil spills?  I’ve seen the video of it and it’s amazing!  Works like magic!

that nifty contraption

buckets of algae

The next task was the most challenging of all -- cleaning up the beach at 11:00 am.  We had to walk about a kilometer from the reserve’s central to reach the area that needed cleaning.  I forgot to put sunblock so my skin had turned red and my watch had already made a mark on my wrist.  So are my flip flops on my feet!

At first, we thought there was nothing to clean because the water was crystal clear.  But when we were inching our way towards our destination, we saw how bad the shoreline looked!  We picked up lots of plastic rubbish.  And by lots, I meant piles and piles of garbage bags! 

rubbish i found 
(oh those pesky water bottles that aren't disposed of properly!)

all these in just 3 hours!

beautiful , untouched Dubai beach

By half past 12, we were all done and headed back to the central to replenish and rehydrate ourselves.  It would’ve been lovely to see the turtles and their eggs but it wasn’t their season so we found none.  The eggs were off limits while they were being incubated in a gated area so no desert fox could get through to them.  We did see paw prints of the elusive four-legged creature, as well as of hares. 

It was a tiring yet fulfilling day for each one of us.  I’m so glad i went.  I hope that my teeny weeny share in giving back to mother earth would someday pay off. 

Next time, i’m bringing the husband and Dade with me.