From trash to class: UAE marine cleanup creates art
Diving cleanup in UAE. (Shutterstock)
Bicycles, chairs and tires were among the items fished out of Sharjah's Khalid Lagoon in a cleanup drive on Monday.
Hundreds of Sharjah residents gathered to watch 70 licensed scuba divers brave chilly waters in the lagoon to clean it.
The items have been transported to Sharjah Aquarium, where, over the next three days, Shamil Maroharzeh, an artist famous for 'recycled art', will convert them into marine-inspired sculptures.
Manal Ataya, director-general of the Sharjah Museums Department (SMD), said: "We would like to extend a huge thank you to everyone who took part in our eighth annual marine clean-up, especially the dedicated divers
who braved cold water and low visibility to make this event a huge success. "The fact that so much discarded waste and seabed litter was pulled ashore is a testament to everyone's hard work, but also a worrying reflection of the health of our precious marine environment. "We encourage people of all ages in the community of Sharjah and beyond to visit Sharjah Aquarium to appreciate the beautiful pieces of art that Shamil has created, and to consider the environmental significance of what they represent."
The Marine Environment Clean-Up Day was organised by Sharjah Aquarium as part of the SMD's "Because We Care" social responsibility initiative. The environmental protection initiative follows a similar event in 2015 when SMD organised a beach clean-up on the shoreline around Al Mamzar Beach.
SMD decided this year to focus on recovering rubbish beneath the waves and invited professional divers from Sharjah Rescue Unit-Sharjah Police, Sharjah Aquarium, scuba clubs in the UAE, and licensed volunteer divers to take part.
Participating diving centres included Emirates Diving Centre, Happiest Nation Team-Al Tawash Diving Centre, Sohar Omani Diving Centre, Sinan Voluntary team, and Emirates Falcons Diving Group.
A selection of the salvaged items was sent to Sharjah Aquarium, where Mr Maroharzeh set up a work station to cut and weld them into pieces of work that resembled sea creatures including fish skeletons and crustaceans. Mr Maroharzeh, a Sri-Lankan who lives in Abu Dhabi, said: "I'm very proud to be involved in such an important initiative and glad that my skills can turn something as ugly as seabed rubbish into a piece of art that people can appreciate and learn from."
Basheer Yousef Al Hamadi from the Sinan Voluntary team salvaged the heaviest item - a large rusty bicycle.
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