19 - 05 - 2012
Dr. Ali Al-Keblawy, Associate Professor in the Department of Applied Biology in the College of Sciences at the University of Sharjah, and member of the Sharjah Research Academy, recently received a one million US dollar research grant from the Qatar Foundation. The grant will fund his research related to introducing plants and vegetation natural to the GGC countries for landscaping in parks, along streets and in other public areas to replace plants unnatural to the environment, which consume a great deal of water and deplete fresh water supplies in these countries.
The terms and conditions of the grant require that the preliminary results be applied initially in the two countries of Qatar and the UAE and that the findings be subsequently adopted by the remaining GCC countries.
Dr. Al-Keblawy will begin his research once all preoperational administrative and technical paperwork is finalized for the funding, whereupon research teams will be formed to work in both Qatar and the UAE at the same time. Dr. Al-Keblawy will oversee the research operations and monitor results in both countries simultaneously.
Dr. Al-Keblawy first presented his proposal to the Gulf Organization for Research and Development, which approved it and submitted it to the Qatar Foundation where it was received with great interest.
In explaining the importance of his research, Dr. Al-Keblawy pointed out his interest in a number of aims including: Conserving the fresh water commonly consumed by irrigating and watering the various plants and vegetation used for landscaping public areas such as streets, squares, parks and gardens, which he said has become a serious threat to fresh water resources being depleted by the consumption of water from plants unnatural to the environment over natural vegetation; and limiting the exposure of natural plants and vegetation, used in landscaping, to the tremendous amounts of fertilizers and pesticides used to fertilize plants unnatural to the environment and to kill the pests and insects that infest them. This, he said, will help protect and conserve the local environment from the dangers of chemical ingredients and compounds that make up these fertilizers and pesticides. He said that using plants and vegetation natural to the local environment of the GCC countries will also help to create a natural urban environment. He said this will in turn bring about the return of a number of insects, creatures and other nature, compatible with such vegetation, and lead to greater biodiversity in urban areas.
Dr. Al-Keblawy said that his research also includes important cultural aspects, saying that the idea of introducing vegetation natural to the environment in urban areas will renew value for the region’s natural environment among its inhabitants, especially among the youth who have little knowledge about its original plants and vegetation.
Dr. Al-Keblawy concluded by saying that the research climate at the University of Sharjah, which promotes and encourages research, is extremely vital to his project, citing the recent international discovery at UOS of chemical compounds that might lead to the cure of cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.