Dubai youth plant 200 Ghaf trees to nurture Jebel Ali Landfill

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Accor Hotels, in association with Dubai Municipality and SynergY, join Goumbook and the Give a Ghaf Tree Planting Program to further cement their commitment to sustainability and supporting younger generations

Accor Hotel Services Middle East, one of the world’s leading hospitality groups, and UAE based environmental portal Goumbook, have partnered for a long term reforestation plan which will see the 1,000 Ghaf trees planted over the next 12 months across the UAE.

As part of the ‘Plant for the Planet Campaign’, the trees will be planted in specific sites chosen by Dubai Municipality to support Goumbook’s initiative, the Give a Ghaf Tree Planting Program. Simran Vedvyas, founder of SynergY, the student-led youth organization, has been appointed as Youth Ambassador of the campaign, and will bring together over a hundred UAE youths to volunteer and join the initiative during 2015.

The first planting of the ‘Plant for the Planet’ campaign took place back in February at Al Warsan Landfill with 100 Ghaf trees while today the second official planting took place in Jebel Ali Hazardous Waste Treatment Facility with 200 Ghaf trees, all with the active support of Dubai Municipality. Eng. Abdul Majeed Saifaie, Director of Waste Management Department, Dubai Municipality, congratulated the team once again for coming together to plant the native trees to the land in United Arab Emirates. Eng. Salem Ablam, Head of the Hazardous Waste Treatment Unit, Eng. Sadin Al Falasi, Head of Treatment Systems Unit and Eng. Mukesh Sajwan, Principal Officer, Waste Treatment attended the Tree plantation. These trees planted in hazardous waste treatment facility will aid vegetation and conservation within the fragmented landscape to maintain and improve the broader ecosystem across the area.

16-years old Simran Vedvyas, founder of SynergY, eagerly looked forward to this assignment as Youth Ambassador of the campaign to represent all young volunteers in the UAE who will join the planting events. Simran, a UN millennium campaign global youth advocate, and UAE’s Ambassador for Al Gore’s Climate Reality has recently won her third Hamdan Award for Distinguished Academic Excellence presented to her by His Highness Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Makhtoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance UAE, making her the first student from her school, Universal American School in UAE to achieve a milestone of Five National Academic Excellence Awards. She has also been conferred with the admired Diana International Award UK as Diana Active Campaigner for her environmental campaigns.

Inspiring many youngsters in UAE to participate in very constructive community action and environment work along side giving their education goals prime importance, she believes that “Youth are the Champions and Change-makers”. She is also the youngest UAE’s Peace Ambassador to the World Peace Caravan, that takes place -December’2015 in the region.  She has decided to join the ‘Plant for the Planet’ campaign by Accor Hotels and Goumbook to support the cause of the Ghaf tree: “The Ghaf, also known as the ‘tree of the dunes’ and a solution to desertification, is facing extinction due to rapid urbanization and SynergY is trying to reverse this process by conservation and planting.”

“We have taken our commitment to hotel sustainability in the region to the next level through our partnership with Goumbook,” said Christophe Landais, Chief Operating Officer for Accor Hotel Services Middle East. “Giving something back to restore and maintain our precious natural habitats near our hotel communities is crucial, particularly as we expand our network,” he added.

Accor VP for Sustainable Development, Arnaud Herrmann, said that through the Group’s sustainable development program, PLANET 21, Accor is deepening its focus on preserving the ecosystems in which its hotels operate. ‘Plant for the Planet’ is a global reforestation initiative within Accor’s Planet 21, developed in partnership with Pur Projet, an organization committed to developing community based agro-forestry projects around the world.

“PLANET 21 reforestation program relies on common guest and employee commitment and, through our partnership with Goumbook and the Give a Ghaf Tree Planting Program, we are providing large scale landscape restoration. People and wildlife thriving together is a top priority for our organization as we strive to leave our planet in good health for generations of hoteliers and guests to come,” Herrmann added.

Tatiana Antonelli Abella, Managing Director of Goumbook and founder of the Give a Ghaf Tree Planting Program, congratulated Accor for establishing the Plant for the Planet program in the UAE and abroad. “The contribution to the local environment is great and will make a huge difference. In addition, the information provided to residents and hotel guests around the UAE about the program will help motivate them to become involved. Our research and experience have shown that just about everyone wants to help, but getting involved is the difficult bit. This partnership with Accor will amplify the efforts of hundreds of people to preserve the UAE national tree and make a difference. We are investing in the next generations’ future and therefore asking all youngsters in the UAE to participate and join the campaign,” she said.

The ‘Plant for the Planet’ campaign will strive to improve the standard of living and facilitate participation for residents to become an active part of the city’s green vision.