Abu Dhabi, April 26: Hundreds of people streamed into Al Wahda Mall in Abu Dhabi to take part in activities during the three-weekend Earth Day campaign which kicked-off on April 9 and concluded on April 25, 2015. The response was very encouraging as residents turned up every weekend to take part in the plantation drive, sketching and other activities.
A variety of environment-related activities were held during the campaign. Visitors were asked to plant a sapling in the specially made green house in the central atrium of the mall. The potted plants were then given to the participant to take home.
'Both my kids enjoyed the activities at the mall. It was a learning experience for them. This was the first time they had the chance to plant a tree and they enjoyed the activity. They promised they would take care of the plant once they take it home,' said Abu Dhabi resident Maha Salam and mother of two.
The other interesting activity that drew a large number of professionals as well as amateur artists was sketching. The activity had people sketching their version of a green planet in a number of creative ways. Some of the art pieces were top class and worth framing.
The winners of the sketching contest will be announced on April 30, 2015. The best sketch will win an Al Wahda Mall shopping voucher worth AED 5,000 and the runners-up will get a shopping voucher of AED 2,500.
“Al Wahda Mall should conduct more such activities. It raises awareness about environmental issues and teaches us about protecting our planet, conserving water and electricity,” said Riya Mendonca a teenager from Abu Dhabi.
The central atrium of Al Wahda Mall had a huge globe representing planet Earth placed next to the green house. Many youngsters were seen taking part painting the globe with green colours.
In line with its ongoing efforts on green and sustainable energy, Al Wahda Mall has adopted many environment friendly measures to help reduce its carbon footprints and become more energy efficient. For instance, the Adiabatic Cooling System installed in the air cooled chillers helps cut down the electricity consumption of the air conditioning system. Another useful energy saving measure is Sun Reflective Films installed on the mall's Roof Skylight. It helps reduce the heating load from radiant heating which in turn saves power and reduces carbon footprints. Waterless urinals installed in the restrooms help save over 400,000 gallons of water per year. Moreover, 20 per cent of the lights in the mall have been replaced by LED bulbs this year, and by 2017, the entire property's lighting will be replaced with energy saving LEDs.
'We want to educate people about how they could contribute towards a greener planet by organising activities they will enjoy taking part in. With such initiatives, we believe in connecting with the community,' said Mohammad Nauman Thakur, General Manager of Al Wahda Mall.
“I think this is a great initiative. I love to plant trees and believe that every human being should at least plant one tree in his lifetime, if not more. Through the sketches, people expressed their impressions of the current state of the planet and how they can save Earth from destruction,” said Mrs. Naseem, a resident of Abu Dhabi.
Though Earth Day was celebrated on April 22, the spirit of environmental concern was felt through the campaign as scores of people indulged in the drive. The green house had a large number of visitors and this helped in raising awareness about the importance of planting trees.
“I came here with my children to support the green campaign. Our children should know that we have a lot to do and fix things which have gone wrong. It's up to us to save our planet and put an end to global warming,” said Margo Smalley, an Abu Dhabi resident who works for a multi-national firm in the capital.
Besides these activities, the other major attraction featured a mime act where a group of mime artists presented an environment-based show. The show was a hit with children.