AL AIN : In line with its mission to encourage environmental tourism and protect natural resources, Al Ain Zoo has exceeded its target to reduce plastic pollution by 122 percent, reducing the use of plastic water bottles from 13,130 boxes down to 5,900 between 2019 and 2020.
While Sheikh Zayed Desert Learning Centre has significantly exceeded the original design’s reference and baseline by 71.21 percent and 57.33 percent respectively, in line with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Award (LEED) international standards. The centre has also achieved 20.89 percent reduction in energy consumption compared to last year in light of suspending activities during the period between March and August 2020 due to Covid-19, which also caused a reduction of greenhouse emissions and operational costs.
By replacing fluorescent bulbs with LED lights, annual energy saving at Sheikh Zayed Desert Learning Centre has reached 49,756.80 Kw/h, while carbon emissions have gone down by 35 metric tons annually, providing an estimated annual saving of AED 22,248while also reducing generated heat as well as zero mercury content, and reducing the risks caused by repeated use of equipment.
On another note, digitization at Al Ain Zoo has resulted in reducing paper waste by 73 percent, while fixed phone lines are routinely reviewed to ensure maximum optimisation and cost efficiency.Additional environmental measures include recycling of the organisation’s personal computers and laptops, as well as environmentally disposing of consumables and other e-waste such as toner cartridges, and moving the majority of applications and processes in order for them to become digital instead of paper-based.
Al Ain Zoo also pays special attention in its efforts to sustainable greening and local flora, focusing on proactive risk management for tree planting and aligning floras with conservation targets, which include the greening project of Al Ain African Safari, Eucalyptus farm project, the penguin beach, the seedling sale to guests which started as a social initiative, as well as a conservation and planting project for endangered flora at ZAPIA’s nursery, which has seen planting of Nannorrhops or Mazari Palmin addition to Caralluma Arabica seedlings.
Upcoming projects are set to open soon at Al Ain Zoo, these facilities feature many sustainable components attracting guests and tourists, as well as educating visitors, students, academics, and field researchers of biodiversity. These include the Natural Reserve project which represents wildlife around Al Ain city featuring local vegetation and animals, while the Green Oasis project helps in managing animal and vegetation waste by recycling green waste, in addition to the irrigation system development project which reduces water waste and consumption by replacing old irrigation systems with advanced ones, featuring comprehensive automated central control.