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UAE authorities continue search for vandals that burned tree in viral video

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Fujairah: Authorities have announced that inspections will be intensified across the emirate of Fujairah after a viral video showed a number of unidentified people burning a sidr tree.

Mohammad Saif Al Afkham, Director of Fujairah Municipality, said that such negative behaviour is unacceptable and pointed out that strict action and fines will be levied against those that harm and damage the UAE environment.

“The municipality, in cooperation with the Fujairah Environment Authority, will tighten control over suburban and environmentally-protected areas to preserve all trees and environmental habitats. Anyone who is found vandalising or destroying trees will be firmly dealt with,” said Al Afkham, who was quoted in local Arabic media.

The warning was issued after a video went viral on social media this week, which showed a person burning the trunk of a sidr tree in the Al Saram area, located about 80 kilometers to the northwest of the city of Fujairah. The incident prompted the Civil Defense Department in Fujairah to rush towards the site and put out the fire.

The sidr tree, more commonly known as the Crown of Thorns or Christs Thorn, has grown in the deserts of the region for thousands of years. It is a very common plant in the mountain terrain of the northern emirates, along the Hajar Mountains.

The tree can withstand any weather condition, creating a beautiful and safe habitat for numerous species, including the native species of bees who feed on the pollen of the tree and produce the sidr honey that holds medicinal and nutritional value.

Fujairah Municipality also urged the public to report any violations to the toll-free number 80036.

Dh10,000 fine for violations

Last year, the Environment and Protected Areas Authority (EPAA) in Sharjah issued 28 violations for razing soil, damaging vegetation, and cutting down perennial and non-perennial trees that were considered of national and environmental importance.

The fines were issued during 2020, and each violation has resulted in a Dh10,000 fine for offenders.

In implementation of Executive Council Resolution No. 39 of 2016, regarding the prevention of environmental degradation, the EPAA seeks to preserve the natural environment, and to sanction violators of this decision and sabotage and destroy natural resources.

Hana Saif Al Suwaidi, Chairperson of Environment and Protected Areas Authority, said: “The issuing of these fines emphasise our position on violating the provisions that have been put in place to protect the environment. Harming these environments causes a deterioration of wild areas and negatively affects visitors.”

She drew attention to the importance and necessity of continuing to work to protect local plants and trees from all tampering and sabotage, as they are considered a national wealth and treasure.

Al Suwaidi added that the EPAA works to preserve these plants by replanting them in their natural habitats, in addition to applying strict laws to preserve them.

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