Abu Dhabi Marine Conservation Society's Beach Clean-Up Day

This past weekend I participated in the Abu Dhabi Marine Conservation Society's Beach Clean-Up Day at Al Harmia Beach in the Western Regions. Due to heavy fog it was officially cancelled for safety reasons (for the people travelling in buses from Abu Dhabi) - but there were a few people there and we all decided to stay and make a dent in a big job!

You can follow and keep up with their events on Instagram: @admcgroup

Before I get into the actually clean-up, the group itself is very interesting. Founded by two sisters, Shamsa and Maitha Al Hameli, here is a little information directly from them:

ADMCG’s Vision: To sustain a healthy marine environment for future generations.

ADMCG’s Mission: To raise awareness, engage the community and promote positive action towards Abu Dhabi’s marine life.

About us:

“Today, conservation of the environment is not meant only for the government or for the officials. It is something that concerns us all. Individuals, voluntary groups of our citizens and others - all can and must get involved.” - Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan.

Inspired by the words of our late father Sheikh Zayed Bun Sultan Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Marine Conservation Group was founded by a group of environmentally aware young UAE nationals with the goal of raising awareness within the society about the marine life found in Abu Dhabi’s waters and highlighting the importance of conserving our fragile marine ecosystem.

These young women are truly inspirational and super organised... which brings us to the clean-up!

I was told about the group a few weeks ago from a former student - Salem - and I started following them on Instagram (social media is THE medium of choice for communication for young people in the UAE). Salem then suggested that a group of us (from the desert clean-up crew) should go - I agreed of course :)

We set out early in a dense fog... but we made it!

Great, clear to read signs :) 

The ladies were already hard at work when we got there a little after 8 am...

Lots of weird garbage that washes up with the tide... an old gas can...

There was actually a lot of garbage, mainly plastic, brought in by the tides and left by picnicers..

Cables... which get wrapped around necks of dolphins and turtles...

The seaweed hid some of the garbage... but it was "easy" pickin's!

Argh... we really need to do something about these plastic water bottles... in Canada we have an environment fee in some provinces (e.g. Alberta)

Salem didn't use the stick either... using hands might be harder on the back, but in many ways I find it easier (but there were tons of sticks to use if we had needed)

I had the garbage 'find" of the day.... 

There are also "organic" finds on the beach... I think most of us turn into budding scientists around interesting finds!

By the time we had cleaned our patch of beach, the clouds had lifted and we had filled 3 trucks full of refuse... 

I think this is a wonderful way for organisations to do "real" CSR - encouraging employees (and even family members) to take part in cleaning our environment... I also think that the more people who get involved, the more people will think twice before throwing out that plastic bottle over the side of the boat or on the beach.

Bravo ladies for founding this amazing organisation (and gentlemen who participated).... I will be back for the next one :)

(For more information in the group - or if you are interested in advice on how to set up a clean-up day for your organisation here is their Email:


Learning about UAE Mangroves on a Beach Clean-Up with the ADMCS

This past weekend I participated in the Abu Dhabi Marine Conservation Society's Beach Clean-Up Day at Al Harmia Beach in the Western Regions. (Thank you Salem for letting me know about it! I love that my former students remember my interest in these types of events).

You can follow and keep up with their events on Instagram: @admcgroup

Although I will be writing a blog post about the clean up and the group separately, I really felt the need to share what I learned about Mangroves - although I see them from my apartment I didn't really know a lot about them before yesterday.

Mangroves are vital for the health of the marine environment - Mangroves clean the air, water and provide a habitat for fish, bird and larger sea creatures... they also protect beaches from erosion and high tides... and they are beautiful and peaceful and quite inspiring.

Mangroves - view from Reem Island
While we were cleaning up the garbage in the thick seaweed, Shamsa and Maitha Al Hameli, sisters and founding members of the group, were also picking up green shoots that were growing in the seaweed... When they mentioned what they were I was fascinated... and I went into student mode!

This is a baby mangrove - which will die as the roots will not survive in the thick seaweed - they need to be transplanted to sand... and be near other mangroves
Each baby mangrove is treated as a treasure by the young women

We start with a clump of seaweed and baby trees (OK seedlings)

Seedlings actually germinate and start "life" on the mother mangrove tree, then the wind, tides or birds "transplant" them naturally

Carefully cleaning the seaweed from the roots is the next step

Then transplanting them near other seedlings....

A new mangrove "forest" is in its earliest stages... most likely seedlings from the plantation growing on the other side of the artificial reef

Thank you ladies - it was a great morning and great learning experience for me... I am looking forward to the next clean-up!