Abu Dhabi's prolific planter who met President Sheikh Mohamed granted golden visa

Sinan Al Awsi has planted more than 200 trees in seven years to spruce up his neighbourhood

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An Abu Dhabi community champion who was honoured by President Sheikh Mohamed for his efforts to make the emirate greener has been granted a golden visa.

Sinan Al Awsi was featured in The National this month after he became a social media sensation for planting 209 trees in his neighbourhood.

The Iraqi engineer, who has lived in the Emirates since 1999, has happily set aside time to green Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Street over the past seven years.

His endeavours came to the attention of Sheikh Mohamed, who lauded his work during a meeting at Qasr Al Bahr on Tuesday.

President Mohamed meets with Iraqi resident who planted more than 200 trees in Abu Dhabi

President Mohamed meets with Iraqi resident who planted more than 200 trees in Abu Dhabi

On Wednesday, the Abu Dhabi Residents Office announced Mr Al Awsi had been given a golden visa.

The 10-year residency permits are given to people who have made an outstanding contribution to the country, have highly prized skills or work in key industries that are crucial to economic growth.

“With his love for nature and unwavering dedication to supporting sustainability in Abu Dhabi, engineer Sinan Al Awsi from Iraq was able to single-handedly plant more than 200 trees, capturing the hearts of millions on social media,” the office wrote on social media, accompanied by a video of Mr Al Awsi.

“Sinan was granted the Abu Dhabi golden visa, a resounding testament to his impactful contribution to the community, and a gateway to limitless opportunities for him and his family.”

Sheikh Mohamed “applauded his efforts and expressed appreciation for such benevolent initiatives” during their meeting, state news agency Wam reported on Tuesday.

He said that “all residents of the UAE are valued partners in the nation's development process”.

Mr Al Awsi expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to meet the President and appreciated his recognition of initiatives that promote sustainability and nature.

Going green

He previously told The National about his horticultural journey, which involved planting 105 coconut and 104 plumeria trees, in addition to more than 80 shrubs and flowers, transforming a 500-metre stretch into an urban oasis.

“I always say, any good deed in the UAE will not be lost or wasted,” Mr Al Awsi told The National.

“I’m grateful to President Sheikh Mohamed because he knew about my initiative. I’m proud as an Iraqi to be recognised and also for contributing to the ecosystem and sustainability of Abu Dhabi.”

His work began when he was granted permission by his landlord and authorities to spruce up the area.

Mr Al Awsi, who has worked on engineering projects such as Sheikh Zayed Bridge, found he had another grand design taking shape.

He bought a lorryload of special soil, installed water pipes and planted the trees.

“Abu Dhabi Municipality has been very supportive with me and gave me the permission to extend planting the trees,” he said.

Every Friday, on his weekend, he wakes and starts working and looking after the trees from 6am to 11.30am.

“It required hard work but my passion for gardens and planting kept me going. Every day, I look at the trees and smile at what I managed to do,” he said.

“These trees are my legacy in the UAE. People who will pass by this place in the future will pray for the person who planted them.”

His good deeds have led to him receiving a nomination for the Abu Dhabi Awards, which honour community champions across the emirate.

Updated: June 15, 2023, 2:55 AM