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Week Without Walls reconnects young people to the sea

School children build eco-engineered reef

UAE-based coastal engineering company Ecocoast this week joined forces with the marine ecology education program Tawasul to build and submerse an eco-engineered reef off the coast of Jumeirah.

The reef building project, part of Gem’s World Academy’s (GWA) Week Without Walls, aims to increase awareness among school children of the importance of protecting the marine environment and its resources.

During last year’s Week Without Walls, Ecocoast educated school children on the benefits of artificial reefs in encouraging biodiversity.  They worked with school children to develop a simple eco-engineered reef design based on the local marine environment.

This year the children constructed two reef modules using a variety of recycled products and substrates and will monitor their effectiveness throughout the year.  The use of substrate such as custom designed geosynthetics will form a diverse environment for marine growth and in turn attract other species, such as Hammour.  Ecocoast’s extensive geosynthetic trials and use on projects throughout the Gulf have proven geosynthetic to be a superior product for durability and encouraging marine biodiversity.

Ecocoast Principal Engineer Mr Angus Jackson said “the protection of our marine environment is the responsibility of us all. This is why Ecocoast’s involvement with Tawasul in the Week Without Walls was so important.  Our children are the future and it is of utmost importance they learn about marine protection”.

“Yes, Ecocoast has the ability to design and construct the artificial reefs that will help improve our marine environment, but the bottom line is it is our community responsibility to help improve awareness of the importance of marine protection and the simple ways everyday people can contribute to it”, he said.

GWA’s Week Without Walls started on Sunday this week with the Choose Wisely campaign, teaching children about fish sustainability.  Ecocoast’s eco-engineered reef project was followed by Arabian Shark Awareness project and 2 days diving and beach clean-up in Musandam.  As part of each course, students will be exposed to specialist presentations and practical in-ocean observations on marine ecology including coral monitoring, reef survey, sharks and sustainable consumption.