Sustainability the focus at Dubai Expo 2020

With participation from 192 countries, the pavilions were centred on themes surrounding sustainability, mobility or opportunity

March 17, 2022 10:58 pm | Updated 10:58 pm IST - DUBAI

The importance of bees at the Slovenia Pavilion, Expo 2020 Dubai. Photo: Special Arrangement

The importance of bees at the Slovenia Pavilion, Expo 2020 Dubai. Photo: Special Arrangement

‘Sustainability, mobility and opportunity’ are the buzzwords at the ongoing Expo 2020 in Dubai, which is coming to a close on March 31. With participation from 192 countries, each with a thematic pavilion, Expo 2020 is regarded a “launch pad for broadening horizons and exchanging ideas.”

According to Ahmed Al Khatib, Chief Development and Delivery Officer, Expo 2020, sustainability was one of the key points of focus during the planning phase of the event. The organisers spent around 10 months just planning processes and procedures that would ensure that the comprehensive human, technological and corporate requirements for the event would be done in a sustainable manner.

“For instance, five million cubic meters of sand had to be moved from the Expo 2020 site, much of which was up-cycled for use in construction of buildings, while 30% of asphalt mix used for roads was from recycled tyres,” he explained. Other initiatives included coming up with and testing concrete mixes for buildings that used up to 30% less water than in traditional concrete.

The focus on sustainability was most typified at “Terra — the Sustainability Pavilion.” Apart from ecological restoration conducted at the Expo site, where 14,000 tress and 3.5 million shrubs have been planted, the pavilion towers over the rest of the site, as a 130-meter-wide canopy harnesses solar energy from 2,752 panels to generate electricity during the day. The site was also “planted” with 18 energy trees featuring 2,160 solar panels that rotate to follow the course of the Sun through the sky every day.

Chief Experience Officer, Expo 2020, Marjan Faraidooni, said 80% of the permanent structures will remain following the completion of Expo on March 31. Ms. Faraidooni said each country was given a free reign to come up with thematic statements for their pavilions on the themes surrounding sustainability, mobility or opportunity.

Anthoine, a French visitor at the Mobility pavilion, was impressed by how countries had come up with different solutions to tackle problems facing the planet. “For instance, Singapore shows how a green space can be maintained in the middle of a desert by maintaining a micro-climate, and Germany is highly interactive, and a great learning experience for children and youngsters,” he said.

Erik van der Schaft, director, Mobility Pavilion, among the most visited pavilions, said the pavilion aims at posing questions as to how cities should adapt to people. The pavilion, which hosts the world’s largest ascending platform, also features nine-meter tall figures from the Golden age of Arab civilization — the navigator Ibn Majid and explorer Ibn Battuta.

(The writer was invited to the Dubai Expo 2020)

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