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Now you can help protect Abu Dhabi’s Al Wathba Fossil Dunes


18-May-2021

The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi is now patrolling the site on a regular basis.

Have a peek at most Abu Dhabi Insta feeds and invariably the natural wonder of the Al Wathba Fossil Dunes often makes an appearance. And it’s not hard to see why!

These amazing fossil dunes are outcrops of lightly cemented, cross-bedded dune sands, formed by the precipitation of calcium carbonate and other salts from ground water during the glacial period.

And if you’re wondering why the formations in the Al Wathba area are shaped like they are, it’s because of the interaction between wind force and sediment supply.

 

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A post shared by Irshad P (@i_irshad_p)

 

Back to social media, it has, judging by images and comments on a number of Facebook groups that the Fossil Dunes are becoming damaged and waste is building up too.

Enter The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi who has been active on social media sites, rolling out a campaign aimed educating the public in regard to the site’s importance.

And all of us have a role in making sure this happens.

The Agency stressed that visitors to the site should avoid hosting events, climbing and the disposing of waste at the fossil dunes.

The place is undoubtedly picturesque and therefore attracts picnickers. However, The Agency points out that the site is being damaged by the amount of waste left behind.

And if that’s not bad enough, there is evidence that people have been drawing and writing on the centuries-old fossil.

These are just some of the factors that have led The Agency to continue to implement a comprehensive plan to develop and protect Al Wathba Fossil Dunes.

This includes developing the site’s infrastructure, services and tourism facilities, and work to declare the site as a natural reserve to protect the emirate’s natural heritage and encourage eco-tourism.

 

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Speaking about the Fossils Dunes, Her Excellency Dr. Sheikha Salem Al Dhaheri, EAD’s Secretary-General said that these sand dunes are unique and are a significant element of the natural history of Abu Dhabi and the UAE, and she noted that such extensive and characteristic formations have not been reported from other parts of the country.

Her Excellency highlighted that these sand formations are extremely fragile and prone to damage, therefore EAD, in cooperation with partners from the concerned government entities, is working to protect the site through inspection and monitoring.

The Agency is now undertaking onsite patrols to ensure the protection of the area’s environment and prevent infringements.

The inspection and control team consisting of four environmental inspectors implemented approximately 1,400 hours of inspection tours in the morning and evening periods, at a rate of 16 hours per day during the first quarter of this year.

The Agency has also coordinated with the Abu Dhabi Center for Waste Management (Tadweer) to clean the site periodically and add waste containers.

In the recent past, campaigns were organised to raise awareness and clean the site, in cooperation with Tadweer, and more than 100 volunteers from the general public and Green Youth Majlis participated and collected around 300 kg of waste.

In addition, the EAD team removed the graffiti that was found on the fossil and intensified monitoring to prevent such acts from occurring in the future.

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