Breathing Life into Sand

Dake Rechsand’s innovative and transformative solutions are proactively contributing to the creation of a more sustainable and abundant world. The company’s breakthrough breathable sand technology utilizes low-value desert aeolian sand, to create a constantly evolving portfolio of high value products. The solutions offered by Dake Rechsand include applications in water purification, desert farming, water harvesting, construction, sand casting, sand oil and more. The company is transforming food and water security in water stressed regions and is currently engaged in an ambitious plan to enable farming and greenery for at least 10,000 acres across UAE or for half a million trees by H1, 2021.

Chandra Dake, the Executive Chairman and Group CEO of the Dake Group, talks to EcoMENA about the ‘Magic Sands’ technology, and how it can transform the agricultural scenario in the UAE and other countries in the MENA region.

EcoMENA: How does Dake Rechsand breathable sand technology align with the UAE government’s vision of creating a more food and water secure UAE?

Chandra Dake: Speaking in a recent cabinet meeting, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum raised the issue of working towards a UAE of the future, which is self-reliant in meeting its food and water needs. This is a responsible reaction to the disruption of global supply chains that we experienced after the COVID-19 outbreak. However, ramping up local production of food, and enhancing the UAE’s ability to be water secure, will also make a significant impact in lowering carbon emissions. As Sheikh Mohammed pointed out, the solution lies in implementing innovative technologies that produce practical results, in a sustainable manner.

Dake Rechsand’s breathable ‘magic’ sand products take an abundant local resource – desert sand – and repurpose it to be the solution, rather than being part of the problem. It’s crucial to note that our solutions are completely scalable, empowering large scale implementation through government or agri-business intervention, as well individual users who wish to reduce the environmental impact of their homes and communities.

EcoMENA: Could you elaborate on how these ‘magic’ breathable sand products can be implemented in individual and community applications?

Chandra Dake: We have all witnessed the increase in rainfall in the UAE due to cloud seeding. However, this has also led to an increase in flooding, and has not yet had an optimal impact on greening the nation.  Dake Rechsand’s products can transform rainwater harvesting efforts, as well as enabling vigorous plant growth in sand, using much less water than conventional methods. These are two capacities which, in combination, can transform the UAE.

The opportunities for a decentralized and community led impact are endless. Corporate offices looking to landscape their campuses, schools wishing to teach their students the value of sustainability, or even people who would like to try their hand at growing vegetables and fruit in their backyard, as well as greening their gardens. All this and more can become possible while drastically reducing water consumption, as well as enabling the harvesting of rainwater using tiles, kerbstones and pavers from our IDER range of products.

EcoMENA: What do think will the impact of the Dake Rechsand technology on future projects and developments in the UAE?  

Chandra Dake: The UAE has emerged as a regional commercial hub, which is the location of choice for regional headquarters for several large corporations. At the same time, it is also a major residential real estate market, famed around the world for its luxury developments and great livability.  The UAE administration has introduced several investor friendly initiatives, to make these market segments attractive to international investors.

These strengths can be further enhanced by landscaping companies and consultants using our products in projects. Residential communities, commercial compounds, healthcare and educational campuses, and more, can all be enhanced using our breathable sand products. These sites can be much more green and lush, even at the height of the harshest UAE summer, while using significantly less water than they currently do.

A layer of 1 inch of our magic breathable sand, when applied a few inches under the root bed of the plant, allows enough water to be retained for the plant to flourish. Not just that, the kerbstones and paving products we offer can reclaim the excess water, and also collect rainwater, for underground storage that keeps water fresh for up to seven years. These capabilities will lead to decentralized water sources, which together contribute to a self-reliant and thriving UAE.

EcoMENA: What about the top-down government led initiatives for food and water security? Are Dake Rechsand products compatible with that scale of implementation as well?

Chandra Dake: Any progressive vision of the future must be anchored in sustainable smart urban clusters, which provide residents with the greatest access to conveniences and services, while doing so sustainably. However, a ‘smart’ city is not just about embedded digital technologies and future-ready public transport etc. At the end of the day, such urban clusters need access to abundant local food and water sources.

The UAE administration has garnered a lot of international praise for its people-centric and visionary initiatives. Nevertheless, until recently, the food needs of these large urban populations would have needed to rely on imports. Water resources would have had a large desalination component, which is heavily reliant on energy consumption. When Dake Rechsand’s breathable sand technology is added to the larger technology driven vision for the future of the UAE, an instantly more sustainable and self-reliant model becomes possible to implement.

About Salman Zafar

Salman Zafar is the Founder of EcoMENA, and an international consultant, advisor, ecopreneur and journalist with expertise in waste management, waste-to-energy, renewable energy, environment protection and sustainable development. His geographical areas of focus include Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe. Salman has successfully accomplished a wide range of projects in the areas of biomass energy, biogas, waste-to-energy, recycling and waste management. He has participated in numerous conferences and workshops as chairman, session chair, keynote speaker and panelist. Salman is the Editor-in-Chief of EcoMENA, and is a professional environmental writer with more than 300 popular articles to his credit. He is proactively engaged in creating mass awareness on renewable energy, waste management and environmental sustainability in different parts of the world. Salman Zafar can be reached at salman@ecomena.org or salman@bioenergyconsult.com
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