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Man turns empty patches into expanses of greenery.

Summary: Abu Dhabi-based engineer transforms sandy lots into blooming gardens

Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/XPRESS By Zenifer KhaleelC SPECIAL TO XPRESS

ABU DHABI: Two small patches of land catch your attention as you pass Shaikh Rashid Bin Saeed Street (Mushrif Road) in the capital.

Unlike other empty lots in the city, these spaces are a verdant expanse of greenery featuring not just local plants like bougainvillea and date palms, but also Naranj and Yas trees from Iraq and jasmine shrubs from India and Thailand.

The visual treat is the handiwork of 57-year-old Iraqi expat Sinan Al Awsi who works as an engineer in the city. Awsi said he decided to turn the barren lands in front of his building into green patches to enliven the atmosphere of his neighbourhood.

"There is no greater joy than smelling fresh flowers early in the morning. This is my way of spreading that joy in the community," said the Mushrif resident.

Awsi began developing the two 12x4 metre patches in front of his building when he first moved here in 2004. His efforts bore fruit. By the time Awsi shifted to a villa in 2012, the barren expanse had transformed into a green oasis. However, with Awsi not around to tend the plants they soon wilted due to neglect.

Last year when Awsi moved back into the building he found that the green land had turned barren again.

Undeterred he took it upon himself to make it better than before. "I had to start all over again. I bought a truckload of special soil packed with all essential nutrients necessary for plant growth before planting tree saplings from Saudi Arabia, Iraq and India. Then I erected a fence and installed water pipes to irrigate the plants," Awsi recalled.

Full bloom

Soon, the place was back to its blooming best. Awsi said he spends half an hour every night tending to the plants. "The jasmine flowers are a favourite with the neighbours because of the scent. "Some people make fun of me, asking why I go through all this trouble when I am an engineer who has worked with prestigious projects like the Shaikh Zayed Bridge. But this is my passion. My only grievance is when people litter the place. There should be some sort of awareness to build more green spaces and keep them clean as well," he said.

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Publication:XPRESS (United Arab Emirates)
Date:May 2, 2018
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