The winners of the ninth edition of the Dubai Award for Sustainable Transport (DAST) were honoured yesterday, in an event held in the presence of HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of the National Olympic Committee and Chairman of Mohammad Bin Rashid Foundation.
Speaking at the event was Dr Bertrand Piccard, initiator and chairman of Solar Impulse. The company succeeded in building a purely solar powered plane that completed a round-the-world trip without a drop of fuel, starting and finishing in Abu Dhabi.
“Dubai is showing today that we can make solar energy cheaper than we can make oil. We have wind power and energy efficient solutions; we can store energy in batteries and coal; and we can have ways to be sustainable when we move and travel,” he said.
“For a long time, sustainability has been associated only with the protection of the environment, which has handicapped the industry and the economy. Fortunately, the solutions have become profitable, yet so many people have not grasped that if you want to stimulate growth, you need to adopt these sustainable technologies.
He continued, “The most fashionable car nowadays is an electric car, and solar power, wind, biomass, and geothermal are all starting to become attractive and trendy ways of creating energy. It’s the only way forward.”
The RTA initiative aims to motivate the public and private sectors to contribute to the reduction of traffic congestion, environmental conservation, and the development of quick and effective solutions to improve the standard of living within the emirate. It also aims to promote innovative environmental sustainability strategies among all segments of societies.
“What I admire very much today at this conference, is the leadership of Dubai and the UAE showing the way to the rest of the world in pioneering sustainable energy solutions. The rest of the world is still far, far behind,” added Bertrand. “Solar Impulse has demonstrated that it’s possible to fly forever when planes can create and store their own energy, and who hosted the start and finish of this achievement? The UAE.”
HE Mattar Al Tayer, Director General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of RTA, was delighted with the huge progression of the Award since it launched in 2008, citing how the ninth edition of DAST had seen a healthy 18 percent growth rate compared with the eighth edition.
“Such an increase is indicative of the growing attention to the Award in the business community, as well as the public and private sectors. It also signals the ongoing commitment of these entities to play an active role in broadening the scope of sustainable transport in the UAE and Dubai emirate in particular,” he said.
The ceremony highlighted four sustainable transport categories. Abu Dhabi Department of Municipal Affairs and Transport won the honours in Mobility Management, while Emirates Standardisation and Metrology Authority came top in Transport Safety.
Dubai Electricity and Water Authority were crowned winners of the Environment Protection category, and Fujairah Police bagged the award for Transport for Disabled.
In the special awards, Professor Arafat Al Dweik from Khalifa University won the best academic research prize, while Bakheeta Al Kitbi won the best student project award.