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7 Abril 2006

Heritage in full bloom at show

REBECCA TORR

Gulf Daily News (Bahrain) [Crónica]

Foto

Promoting and preserving Bahrain's natural heritage is one of the goals of exhibitors at the Third Bahrain International Garden Show (BIGS).

The four-day event, which aims to raise awareness of environmental issues, is being held under the patronage of His Majesty King Hamad at the Bahrain International Exhibition Centre (BIEC).

It is supported by wife of the King and chairwoman of the Supreme Council for Women, Her Highness Shaikha Sabeeka bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa, who opened the event on Wednesday.

The show features more than 60 local and international exhibitors, educational activities, floral demonstrations and informative lectures, as well as the Bahrain Garden Club's (BGC) 41st Annual Amateur Flower and Vegetable Show.

By exhibiting local plants, trees, flowers, fruits and gardens, exhibitors hope to raise awareness of Bahrain's heritage and encourage people to protect it.

The Trees of Bahrain stand, created by BIGS organisers, is educating members of the public about the importance of protecting local fruit trees through a computer programme.

Through the programme, which can be accessed from 16 computers around the exhibition, visitors can discover more about the nature and uses of 15 Bahraini fruit trees and how to preserve and protect them.

The Municipalities and Agriculture Ministry is also raising awareness about the need to preserve local plants through a typical Bahraini style garden that is on display at the event.

"The theme of this exhibition is to use local plants, because local plantations can survive in our weather," said Municipality Affairs architect Yousif Janahi.

"We also want to encourage children to know about our history and heritage.

"We want to revive the use of traditional trees and plantations and to re-establish this to our children.

"We want more awareness, we don't want these plants to disappear after a few years."

Mr Janahi said in every new development project created by the ministry, 40 to 60 per cent of the area was dedicated to local greenery.

Between 2003 and 2005, he said the ministry constructed and re-developed 60 to 70 public gardens and parks in Bahrain.

"Our responsibility is to beautify public areas, we landscape gardens, public parks, main roads and highways," Mr Janahi told the GDN.

"We are trying to re-develop these areas.

"In all areas of Bahrain we are trying to put a garden. Pollution in Bahrain has increased so we must increase green areas.

"We are now concentrating on bigger projects such as the development of public parks and beaches."

At the Public Commission for the Protection of Marine Resources, Environment and Wildlife stand, exhibitors are telling visitors more about wild flora (plants).

Public Commission deputy chairman Professor Dr Ismail Al Madani said Bahrain's natural heritage was just as important as its cultural heritage, but little about the former was known among the general public.

To create awareness and preserve natural culture, he said, Al Areen Wildlife Park in Zallaq had successfully developed a wild flora garden.

"What we are doing is trying to conserve this by emphasising the natural desert plants we have in Bahrain," said Professor Al Madani.

"Bahrain is highly urbanised and developments usually destroy natural habitats, so we are conserving this by having a desert garden in Al Areen in which we are trying to collect all wild flora that exists in Bahrain.

"It's very difficult to plant this wild flora because they are very sensitive and only need a little water, but it must be sweet because this is what they have in their natural environment.

"We have been successful in growing them and the general public must have more awareness about this flora."

Professor Al Madani said some flora also had medicinal properties and this was another reason they had to be protected.

He said people with wild flora in their gardens must preserve them and pass this heritage on to new generations.

"We want to create awareness and for people to preserve them in their garden, but it's not easy," he explained.

"In Al Areen we have successfully grown them from seed and from the plant itself.

"In the future, if we are very successful we might sell them through shops."

The show is open to the public today and tomorrow, from 9am to 1pm and 4pm to 9pm.

Entrance is 500 fils, but free to children aged 10 and under.

 

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