A view of a mangrove with birds off the Eastern Corniche Road in Abu Dhabi. Image Credit: Abdul Rahman/Gulf News
Abu Dhabi: About 420 bird species were found in Abu Dhabi emirate last year, according to the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi’s (EAD) Annual Report for the year 2012.
This shows that most of the bird species among a total of 452 species recorded in the UAE are found in the emirate, according to experts.
EAD monitored wild birds throughout the emirate at nearly 60 sites including various habitats in different terrains and on an average 42,000 birds were recorded every month.
Nearly 12,000 breeding pairs of globally threatened Socotra cormorant were recorded at five to six small islands in the emirate.
In the summer of 2012, the Greater flamingo successfully bred once again at Al Wathba Wetland Reserve with 17 chicks fledging successfully.
The report released by Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, EAD’s Secretary General, documents its efforts in protecting the environment of the emirate.
It highlights the measures taken in environmental regulatory and policy framework, conservation of ground water and biodiversity, ensuring clean air and minimising climate change and its impacts, and promoting sustainable communities.
The agency succeeded in protecting approximately 60,000 square metres of mangroves on Al Reem Island after learning of a developer’s illegal attempt to clear the area.
An environmental protection and awareness plan at the Eastern Mangroves in Abu Dhabi was also implemented last year. Two patrols are operated in the area daily to monitor the ecological conditions.
Mohammad Al Bowardi, EAD’s Managing Director, said : “Today, the emirate of Abu Dhabi is witnessing a development boom, thus EAD has further strengthened its regulatory and enforcement framework that focuses on tackling the main issues, in partnership with governmental institutions and non-governmental organisations as well as the academia and private sector.”
The EAD secretary general said: “The report highlights how working towards sustainable development is at the very core of our operations. The year 2012 saw us introduce new scientific methodologies and advanced technologies to better address the environmental challenges facing the emirate of Abu Dhabi,” Al Mubarak said.
The EAD has designed a public health recreational beach water quality monitoring programme for continuous monitoring of the beaches. It monitors water quality weekly at popular swimming beaches.
An Emergency Operations Centre to deal with environmental hazards was also unveiled.
Construction of 22 (of a planned 30) solar desalination plants in different locations was also completed, which use innovative zero-carbon technology to transform brackish saline water into fresh potable water.
The agency successfully trans-located 20 Arabian oryx to Wadi Rum, Jordan, as a continuation of the General Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Reintroduction Initiative.
Four dugongs from Al Yasat Marine Protected Area and Marawah Marine Biosphere Reserve were successfully tagged for tracking for further studies. Paperless Day was commemorated on November 21 and saw close to 300,000 participants save nearly 14 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.
EAD continued its campaign against plastic bags, urging the public to switch to reusable bags and reached out to more shoppers in key malls.
A bilingual enviro-portal was also introduced to give users access to spatial environmental information that EAD has been collecting since the early 1990s.
- About 420 bird species in Abu Dhabi
- 452 bird species in UAE
- 42,000 birds recorded every month
- 12,000 breeding pairs of Socotra cormorant
- 22 zero-carbon solar desalination plants
- 14 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions saved with paperless day
Major Measures for Abu Dhabi’s environment
Some other actions taken by the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) in 2012.
- Efforts to protect emirate’s rich biodiversity included implementing conservation plans for protected areas, monitoring endangered species and collecting information about the emirate’s terrestrial biodiversity and ecosystems.
- EAD also worked with partners to compile an inventory of Abu Dhabi’s greenhouse gas emissions.
- It added 10 more stations to the existing air quality monitoring network
- It stepped up efforts to fulfil Law No 6 of 2006 to conserve groundwater through the regulation of wells and well drilling.
- As an active educator in the community, EAD worked with schools, universities, businesses and government organisations to raise awareness in the community.
- Agency issued 1,427 environmental permits and 259 permits for chemical traders. It also conducted 676 inspections of permitted facilities and 133 inspections of groundwater wells to ensure that permit conditions were being met.
- Successfully finalised the permitting process following meetings and workshops with the Etihad Rail team. EAD carried out several joint surveys to address the environmental impacts and mitigation measures of the project, especially in the Baynounah Forest Protected Area.