ABU DHABI, H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Ruler's Representative in Al Dhafra Region and Chairman of the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi, EAD, expressed his happiness and appreciation at the support of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and Honorary Chairman of the EAD, which has helped reinforce the emirate's environmental protection efforts.

Sheikh Hamdan announced the cultivation of 14 million mangrove seedlings in Abu Dhabi, through the joint efforts of the Department of Municipal Affairs and Transport, the Al Dhafra Municipality and the EAD.

Over the next 25 years, the planted trees will help reduce carbon emissions by 200,000 tonnes, equivalent to the yearly energy consumption of over 20,000 homes, helping to reduce the effects of climate change.

Sheikh Hamdan made this statement during a speech marking the 23rd National Environment Day on 4th February, held this year under the slogan, "Nature-Based Solutions."

Sheikh Hamdan said that these trees play a key role in the marine ecosystem and provide an important habitat for many types of plants and wild aquatic animals, adding that Abu Dhabi realised the importance of adopting this concept at an early stage, especially in light of the predicted increase of its urban population to over five million by 2030.

The emirate, therefore, drafted the Plan Abu Dhabi 2030, which aims to create its urban framework and meet its current and future development requirements, he added, noting that the emirate has also drafted proactive plans to confront climate change, especially as the UAE's coastal areas contain some 85 percent of its total population, more than 90 percent of its infrastructure, and many sensitive sub-ecosystems.

He also explained the innovative environmental initiatives launched by the agency to support Abu Dhabi's efforts to achieve sustainable development, ensure social welfare and protect the environment.

These initiatives include the establishment of nature reserves managed by the agency, such as the "Zayed Protected Areas Network" that comprises six marine reserves covering 13.90 percent of the emirate's total marine area, and thirteen land reserves covering 16.98 percent of its total land area, he further added.

Sheikh Hamdan commended the role of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, ADNOC, and its commitment to keep pace with the emirate's comprehensive development plan and provide safe and reliable energy, to support the country's development through utilising safe and environmentally-responsible methods.

Source: Emirates News Agency