The Environment Agency–Abu Dhabi (EAD) in collaboration with Emirates Nature – WWF yesterday announced the launch of its new SAHIM app, the first-of-its-kind created to encourage citizen science.

The app comes under the umbrella of the SAHIM programme – which means ‘contribute’ in Arabic – and is a comprehensive UAE-wide citizen science initiative that allows the public to partake in scientific environmental research. The programme aims to nurture a new epoch of citizen-science in the UAE, which will help support environmental conservation research, decision-making, and the development of policies and regulations.

The new app was designed to engage the community to help document single-use plastic and waste present in marine and terrestrial environments and was launched at an event where attendees were encouraged to undertake tangible environmental actions through effective citizen science clean-ups.

Available for download from Apple Store and Google Play, SAHIM is a community-driven initiative, empowering individuals to take real-world action for a more sustainable environment, which is the main mandate of EAD. The user-friendly tool – which is accessible to people of all ages – will allow residents of the capital to support EAD by encouraging them to report any single-use plastic and waste found on beaches and terrestrial locations.

The SAHIM app helps users to categorise, record, and upload their findings. The data is then reported directly to EAD, providing detailed insights to expert researchers and policy makers. This allows the Agency’s team to make better decisions, formulate new regulations and provide recommendations to leaders in Abu Dhabi regarding solutions to curb waste.

Complementing the app, EAD will also be organising beach and terrestrial clean-ups at several prime locations across Abu Dhabi as part of its efforts in making the city one of the most liveable in the world. Volunteers will be invited to join the clean-ups and share their experiences on social media to encouragement wider engagement.