World Environment Day: the UAE's newest green spaces

As June 5 is marked annually by the UN to stress the importance of protecting the environment, we look at how the Emirates is investing in greening its communities

Sunflowers on the Abu Dhabi Corniche walkway. Photo Victor Besa / The National
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The UAE continues to focus on launching new green spaces for residents and visitors to enjoy. The country is already brimming with parks and other outdoor attractions, such as Abu Dhabi's Capital Gardens and Mushrif National Park in Dubai, but new spaces are being added constantly.

After seven years of planning, Sharjah opened its first safari park, at Al Bridi Nature Reserve, in February. The project involved the planting of more than 100,000 trees to recreate authentic African landscapes. The 800-hectare space is now home to 120 species of animals, totalling almost 50,000 creatures, from birds and reptiles to lions, elephants, giraffes, and the endangered black and white rhinoceros.

Planting schemes create 12 different environments that echo the terrain of Africa. However, given the size of the space, and the fact that enclosures have been designed to give the best quality of life for the animals, don’t be surprised if you don’t see all the animals in one visit.

In March, Sharjah also opened Muwaileh Park, covering an area of 7,400 square metres. Of that, 3,300 square metres has been given over to plant beds, now filled with 2,200 trees and 4,000 flowers. Although the trees are still saplings, already the new space is a welcome addition to the industrial area of Muwaileh, offering residents a sprung track for running, a fountain and a playground for children.

Sheikha Fatima Park in Abu Dhabi had its grand opening in December as part of the UAE National Day celebrations. Inspired by the legacy of the Mother of the Nation, the new park is a vibrant space where people can come together and enjoy healthy activities. Spanning 46,000 square metres, the park on Al Bateen Street has shops and restaurants, and plenty of play areas for children. It is also the first park in Abu Dhabi with a dedicated area for dogs.

In October, Mushrif National Park in Dubai launched a dedicated bike track within its grounds, to allow riders to get up close and personal with some of the park's 70,000 trees. The park is one small part of Dubai's ambitious Urban Plan 2040, which to date has created 43.83 million square metres of greenery across the emirate.

According to Dubai Municipality, during 2021 it planted an estimated 170,000 trees — that's 466 trees per day — which helped to create 2.83 million square metres of new greenery for people to enjoy.

Dawoud Al Hajri, Director General of Dubai Municipality, said: "The municipality has increased the green area in the emirate of Dubai, aiming to intensify the planting works in all main and secondary roads and residential areas to enhance the quality of life and community happiness, and increase the per capita share of green spaces in the urban area.”

Updated: June 05, 2022, 1:12 PM