Bahrain’s green project advancing at rapid pace

AROUND 50 neem and hibiscus tiliaceus trees have been planted along the Umm Al Hassam Walkway as part of the Forever Green project.

Bahrain’s nationwide afforestation campaign is progressing at a rapid pace with plans for more greenery across the country in the coming months.

The project launched by the National Initiative for Agricultural Development (NIAD) in October last year has exceeded expectations, thanks to the support of the business community, said secretary general Shaikha Maram bint Isa Al Khalifa.

“Initially, only four locations in the Capital Governorate were chosen for our afforestation plan, however, we have planted trees in seven areas and an eighth one is also on the way,” she said.

“We are getting several requests to set up plants in new locations across the country.”

Shaikha Maram recalled the challenging origins of the campaign that aims to combat climate change and better protect natural habitat.

“There were many afforestation projects seeking approval at the municipal councils, so during the pandemic we decided to do something about it,” she said.

“We reached out to various companies in Bahrain to gauge their interest in sponsoring a campaign, and the response was overwhelmingly positive.”

She added that there was no official mechanism to accept donations until then which led NIAD to create a simplified process before launching the drive.

“We connected sponsors and contractors with municipalities, which also oversees the implementation of the project and takes care of its maintenance.

“Umm Al Hassam Walkway was not on the list, but it was included after SGS Bahrain expressed willingness to sponsor the project.”

Shaikha Maram affirmed that more locations will be included in the future.

“There is currently a bit of a struggle to implement the project in several areas as we need approvals from the Electricity and Water Authority and the Works, Municipalities Affairs and Urban Planning Ministry,” NIAD projects director Yousif Buhijji said. “We are communicating with them to resolve the issues.”

An official from the Works Ministry’s agricultural division said the approval was vital as roots of plants could harm the underground infrastructure.

“For now, we have planted shrubs and plants with short roots in infrastructure-heavy areas and have left space in the walkway for more trees,” he told the GDN.

“Trees with longer roots, which go one metre to 1.5m below the ground, have been planted near the Shaikh Isa bin Salman Highway.

“We have also created a ground cover by planting grass to cool the roots and reduce the evaporation of water.

“Colourful varieties of shrubs and flowering trees being planted in various locales include neem, acacia, jatropha, plumeria and hibiscus tiliaceus.”

The NIAD aims to plant 50,000 trees and shrubs as part of the Forever Green campaign, which is being held under the patronage of Her Royal Highness Princess Sabeeka bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa, wife of His Majesty King Hamad and NIAD Consultative Council president.




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