Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) has launched Environmental Eyes, a youth-led volunteering programme, at an event held on 7 November 2023, where youth from across the emirate were invited to participate in this initiative which enhances communication and community work for intergenerational sustainability to build an environmentally responsible society.

Environmental Eyes, an environmental education and reporting programme designed to engage and enlist volunteer members from the public, focuses on fostering an understanding of diverse environmental domains. By imparting comprehensive knowledge about various ecological subjects, the programme aims to equip volunteers with the awareness to identify and report potential violations caused by human activities via EAD’s Sahim mobile application, enabling the EAD to take swift corrective actions in responding to these incident recordings.

The programme is open to volunteers aged 18 and above, who will be trained through an electronic platform via a series of environmental educational videos. After completion of the training, volunteers will receive a certificate as well as access to the Sahim application to begin reporting any observed environmental violations.

Her Excellency Dr Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, Secretary-General of EAD, said: “EAD has developed this exciting Environmental Eyes volunteering programme to instil a sense of responsibility among the community towards the environment. With the launch of this initiative, we encourage the society to take positive action in recording harmful activities and violations of our precious environment here in Abu Dhabi. This programme will increase social responsibility through allowing the community to be directly involved in identifying negative actions and behaviours affecting the environment and making them key players in the preservation of our natural habitats that we now know we cannot live without.”

The Environmental Eyes programme comes under the umbrella of the Sahim programme – which means contribute in Arabic – and is a comprehensive UAE-wide citizen science initiative that allows the public to participate in scientific environmental research. The programme aims to promote a culture of citizen-science in the UAE, which will help support environmental conservation research, decision-making, and the development of policies and initiatives.

Available for download from Apple Store and Google Play, Sahim is a community-driven initiative, empowering individuals to take real-world action for a more sustainable environment. The tool allows residents of Abu Dhabi to support the EAD by encouraging them to report any single-use plastic and waste found on beaches and other terrestrial locations.