By FAZEENA SALEEM
DOHA: Showing concern towards the environment, several iconic buildings in Qatar switched off their lights for an hour yesterday to observe Earth Hour, a global initiative to spread awareness on climate change and power conservation.
Organised annually on the last Saturday of March by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), over 4,000 cities - including Doha participated in Earth Hour 2014.
The Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation (Kahramaa) took the lead by switching off all unnecessary lights at its headquarters from 8.30pm to 9.30pm. Kahramaa on Friday had called on all commercial, industrial and residential facilities in the country to observe Earth Day. Several hotels and establishments joined the campaign but numerous commercial establishments, including malls, could be seen illuminated brightly. Most residential complexes also ignored the call.
Ooredoo switched off all lights and non-essential systems at its iconic tower in West Bay and its Airport HQ2 for one hour. Ooredoo employees were also told to switch off lights at home during the event.
Taking a step further, the Pearl- Qatar held ‘The Trash to Treasure’ art project 2014 together with Qatar Green Building Council for four consecutive days to coincide with Earth Hour. Aimed at highlighting the amount of waste people produce and introducing creative and artistic ways of dealing with trash, the project will culminate in a recycled model in the form of a pond with water, fish, birds and flowers.
Artist Patric Rozario, of Visual Arts Forum India (VAFI), and other artists also participated. VAFI is credited with preparing the ‘pond’ design. The 3D pond project was unveiled in celebration of Earth Hour. Unnecessary external lights of Porto Arabia were switched off, luminous face painting, stage drum performance and an Earth Hour walk was held at the Pearl-Qatar.
Other places like the Aspire Zone and Museum of Islamic Art too joined the Earth Hour by putting off all unnecessary lights. Aspire Zone used solar-powered energy to light the football pitches and sports courts yesterday.
Taking a lead among hotels, Hilton Doha held several activities to mark Earth Hour. Hilton Doha with Youth Company planted flowers around the hotel. The hotel also had unplugged music and turned off unnecessary lights and dimmed the rest.
Several other hotels also encouraged their guests and employees to switch off the lights in all guest rooms and public areas during Earth Hour and some offered candle-light dinner.