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Hilton Worldwide leads the way
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Hilton Worldwide leads the way

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Teams of enthusiastic divers from across the UAE joined forces with Hilton Worldwide in Ras Al Khaimah this weekend for the second underwater clean-up drive, one local event in a worldwide Project AWARE, created by globally-known Professional Association of Diving Instructors’ (PADI) to help protect the marine environment.

Over 50 divers from around the country geared up in wetsuits, dive equipment and tanks, trash bags and gloves to join the biggest volunteer programme of underwater clean-up in the country to help rid the sea off the Ras Al Khaimah coastline of debris and trash. Working in pairs, the dedicated teams recovered over 200kg of trash in just one hour.  The haul contained a range of discarded items including plastic bottles and bags, ropes, nets, and other forms of debris. Meanwhile, non-diver volunteers assisted on land to receive the team after their clean up and to assist in discarding the collected rubbish.

Mohab Ghali, country manager, Ras Al Khaimah, Hilton Worldwide said:   “This year’s underwater clean-up is one of the most high profile exercises in promoting sustainability ever seen in Ras Al Khaimah.  The dedicated team of divers have a passionate interest in protecting their marine surroundings and I am delighted they have made such an impact in their second major initiative.”

Hilton Ras Al Khaimah Resort & Spa sponsored and hosted the event with over 80 divers and volunteers together, ranging from beginners to instructors and spanning 20 different countries.

After the morning’s clean-up, tired and hungry volunteers enjoyed a peaceful afternoon in the sunshine on the beach of the Hilton Resort & Spa where they enjoyed complimentary lunch and refreshments.  A whole host of supporters donated various raffle prizes including hotel stays from all over UAE, Salalah in Oman and even Seychelles, involving dining vouchers, spa, seaplane, cruises and more.  Adventure Sports Centre, the main partner of the event, provided the diving equipment, boats and, importantly their invaluable experience throughout the process ensuring proper set-up, organisation from boats to equipment, manpower and more.

In recognition of such an important eco-initiative, Hilton RAK Resort & Spa and PADI Project Aware were awarded a prestigious USD$5,000 Hilton Worldwide Travel with Purpose® Action Grant, to support their future efforts in marine conservation and to continue developing ways to strengthen the quality of life in Ras Al Khaimah.

Now in its second decade of underwater conservation, PADI Project AWARE supports an unprecedented global movement of divers acting in their own communities to protect oceans and helping to implement lasting change.  The committee members have now created Ras Al Khaimah Coastal Council to focus on the beautiful 65km coastline in the emirate, enjoyed every year by thousands of visitors to Ras Al Khaimah.

Emille Artigas, founder of the project commented “Our message and passions are clear, and our sole purpose is to make a difference. We want to protect the fragile marine environment, share the importance of reef ecosystems and contribute to the longevity of this beautiful underwater kingdom. It’s amazing to see that many share our passion, and finally, I applaud every member of the committee, who dedicated their time and enthusiasm to this worthwhile cause.”

The newly formed Ras Al Khaimah Coastal Council have lined up a series of conservation led initiatives for this year and will be calling on additional helpers to lend a caring hand throughout 2014 and 2015 to join in the building and funding of an artificial reef and also to protect baby turtles at hatching time.

 











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