Lights out and candles lit for Earth Hour in UAE

The lights went out at some of country’s most famous buildings, including the Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall, to mark the annual awareness event.

Onlookers watch the Burj Khalifa going dark during Earth Hour. Jeff Topping for The National
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DUBAI// As the lights went out at some of country’s most iconic buildings, hundreds of people lit candles to mark Earth Hour.

In Dubai, as the clock struck 8.30pm, the bright lights of the Burj Khalifa, Souk Al Bahar and Dubai Mall joined numerous Dubai Government buildings to raise awareness of energy conservation.

In the build-up to the event yesterday, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) organised activities for families and visitors at Bay Avenue Park in Business Bay.

The event was organised by Emirates Wildlife Society in cooperation with the World Wide Fund for Nature and Masat Property Management.

From 5pm, hundreds of people of all ages enjoyed street entertainers, face painting, clowns and souvenirs.

“It’s a really good way of raising awareness on the issue of conserving energy,” said Rakesh Patel, from India. “But to make more of an impact I think the wider society should be educated about the importance of not being wasteful.

“Far too many people here, I think, they fall into the habit of leaving air conditioning on all day or their appliances switched on when not in use.”

Thomas Schmidt from Germany said it was vital that the environment be protected for future generations.

“We rely too much on technology and that takes a lot of energy to maintain,” he said. “Earth Hour is a start but I think it should be done more often. Maybe two or three times a year.

“That way the message will really get through to people. The more you make it a normal part of people’s lives, the more they will take it on board.”

As part of Earth Hour celebrations, Dewa also displayed what, at 7 metres, is the world’s largest infinity mirror.

It is a set of mirrors that reflect an image back in a series of smaller reflections that recede into an infinite distance.

The Earth Hour switch-off took place from 8.30pm, with tourist attractions, government and private buildings joining residents across Dubai in turning off their lights and non-essential electric appliances.

A special walkathon started at the same time, with those taking part holding candles and lanterns.

Abu Dhabi and Al Ain also darkened as residents made an effort to shine a light on energy conservation and environmental protection. Some of the capital’s most prominent properties participated in the international campaign by staging educational events and cutting out non-essential lights for one hour.

The Abu Dhabi Distribution Company joined up with Aldar Properties to offer educational and entertaining activities at WTC Mall, Al Raha Beach and Yas Mall. The events ended with the annual hour of darkness beginning at 8:30pm.

“We are always pleased to see our communities coming together and that the events we organise work well for all family members,” said Talal Al Dhiyebi, chief development officer at Aldar Properties.

“Earth Hour 2015 was a fun and interactive way of bringing together the people of Abu Dhabi at Aldar communities to celebrate such an important initiative Aldar is committed to working towards a more sustainable future for residents and visitors and was pleased to lead the way in inspiring individuals to play their own role.”

Lights were also dimmed at four commercial towers on Al Maryah Island, the Abu Dhabi Global Market Building and The Galleria mall as a symbolic show of support for the Earth Hour movement.

In Al Ain, the Abu Dhabi Festival in partnership with the Emirates Wildlife Society-World Wide Fund for Nature, held a number of educational workshops at the Hili Fun City. Children were invited to take part in a series of activities focused on climate change.

Visitors to the Al Ain Zoo were offered free admittance from 7pm to 8:30pm and invited to take part in a night, torch-lit walk, peer at the night sky through a telescope or enjoy live classical music performed near the African exhibit.

* With additional reporting by Roberta Pennington