July, 2024

DM to spend Dh6 billion to turn Dubai into 'green paradise' by 2025

DUBAI- As part of Dubai Municipality’s efforts to make the emirate a “green paradise” by 2025, AED 6 billion has been earmarked for soft landscaping and the irrigation network in Dubai, according to officials at the Municipality.

“We have plans for giant projects by 2025, which include the expansion of sewer lines and the irrigation network,” said Salah Abdul Rahman Amiri, assistant Director-General of the Municipality.

“These are mainly concentrated on preparations for Expo 2020 as we want to make Dubai a green paradise,” Amiri told Khaleej Times daily, adding, that new legislation is also being planned to ensure the private sector, mainly the big developers and private property owners, shares the onus of expanding the green belt in the city.

Amiri, in charge of the Environment and Public Heath Services sectors, said over AED 3 billion would be spent on improving and expanding the irrigation network by 2025, which would bolster the landscaping projects.

A stronger irrigation network is key to maintaining sustainable landscape projects, he said. “We are having problems with sustainable landscaping. The challenge is mainly with water.” Hessa Ismail Al Attar, Principal Landscape Designer with the Public Parks and Horticulture Department, said the low force of the water used for irrigation, which is treated waste water, posed challenges to landscape projects in some areas in Dubai.

Taleb AbdulKarim Julfar, Director of the Department, said that along with improving the irrigation network, the civic body is also trying to reduce the demand on water for landscaping.

“Since we are expanding (landscaped areas), we need to control water consumption as well. Otherwise, we will run short of water in the next two to three years. So we are redesigning and using a lot of materials like special sand and stones to reduce water consumption and prevent the ground water from coming up and spoiling the plants,” he said.

With the municipality spending about AED 300 million yearly for soft landscaping, which includes maintaining small parks and roadside landscapes, an investment of AED 3 billion is expected to see the desert city bloom in the next 10 years.

“Around 45 million flower (plants) were planted in 2013 and we are expecting a five to 10 percent increase, depending on upcoming projects,” said Al Attar.

According to Julfar, 20 to 30 small park projects are in the pipeline to add to the green lungs of the desert city which currently boasts about 7,000 hectares of green space developed by the municipality and the private sector together.

However, the municipality is still contemplating legislation that will make the role of the private sector even bigger since the government alone cannot meet its target of keeping at least eight percent of the urban land green, said Amiri.

Though the legislation would make it mandatory for increasing the green area in private projects, whether on the ground or over the roof, Amiri said the municipality does not intend to impose a heavy burden on the private sector.

“We’d rather have better awareness so that they understand it is good for the sustainable development of their projects as well,” Amiri concluded.-WAM

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