CSR initiative follows global coral reef healing during lockdown
Dubai, December 14, 2021: To celebrate the UAE’s Golden Jubilee, Emirates Draw launched its flagship Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme aimed at preserving and regenerating marine ecosystems at an ecologically large & relevant scale in the UAE and surrounding coastlines. The programme’s work is a reflection of the country’s leading role in the efforts to preserve coral reefs across the region and its commitment to sustainability, whilst improving coastal society, economy, and securing generations to come for a better tomorrow.
As its first community-driven activity, the restoration programme is part of a long-term package of programmes spear-headed by Emirates Draw committing its efforts exclusively to environmental protection, battling climate change, and marine conservation over the next few years.
The coral reef restoration programme with the support of twenty-five volunteer divers led by Emirati diver Saleh Aldhuhoori commenced planting coral polyps off the coast of Khorfakkan, United Arab Emirates. The 25 volunteer divers sunk several steel frames on the seabed, where they attached the polyps with environmentally friendly wires and marine epoxy. The steel structures were embedded in relatively shallow water of between six to seven meters on the sandy seabed of Khorfakkan beach.
Commenting on the programme, leading Emirati diver, Aldhuhoori said “As part of our celebration of the UAE’s 50th National Day, we would like to raise awareness of the importance of adopting best practices in sustainable management of coral reefs. I would also like to express my sincere gratitude to Emirates Draw for being the driving-force behind this programme.”
Mohammad Alawadhi, Managing Partner of Emirates Draw, said: “Our oceans, now more than ever are under increased threat of climate change and the rising temperatures of the water has caused wide-spread bleaching of coral reefs across the world and in the UAE. However through continuous environmental education campaigns we are all aware of the importance of sustaining healthy marine habitats and the simple steps we can all take to contribute positively to marine conservation especially through initiatives like ours. This has never been more critical than now particularly in the context of our return to the beaches and the sea post lockdowns and global travel restrictions. The lockdown has had the fortunate effect of allowing some coral reef formations the opportunity to recover. In Hawaii, the drop of tourism activity has allowed its bays to recover demonstrating how quickly the environment can recover if given the space.”
Mr. Alawadhi continued “It’s such a thrill and joy to contribute to the health of these underwater habitats and there is room for anyone wishing to get involved in our conservation project whether underwater or on land. Volunteering for a coral reef restoration programme such as ours at Emirates Draw is an amazing opportunity to help protect our oceans and ultimately, our planet.”
Since the start of the programme, the Emirates Draw diving team has planted more than 2,000 coral polyps on to steel structures with the aim to plant more than 1.5 million coral reef colonies spanning an area equivalent to 60 international football stadiums, across the UAE and beyond through this extensive and long term restoration project.