The Mangrove Keepers


As Abu Dhabi continues its rapid expansion, an astonishing natural water-forest sways just meters offshore. Each day, a group of self-appointed guardians leads an unorthodox grassroots campaign to save this floating jungle.

 By Gaar Adams | Beacon | September 17, 2013

I’m watching a lanky Filipino man stand on the edge of Abu Dhabi’s eastern highway, his clothes wet and matted against his gaunt frame. With a bag of clams dragging behind him — leaving a spotty trail of Gulf water in his wake — he squints against the harsh light of the roadside lampposts and darts across eight lanes of traffic. I look back toward the tangle of roots and leaves and seagrass along the shoreline from which he emerged just moments earlier. When I try to relocate his shadow on the other side of the highway amidst the inky darkness of the night, I can only hear the jangle of clams rattling together in his rucksack…

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