MUSCAT, June 25 – As part of the government’s efforts to check pollution, industries in the Sultanate have been mandated to install CCTV cameras for live monitoring of emissions. “These cameras capture images of emissions from smoke stacks at industrial units. In case of any unusual emission is observed, this could be conveyed to the authorities for taking proper action,” said an official at the Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs.
According to him, industries in Oman are also under the surveillance of the ministry’s continuous emission monitoring system (CEMS) that makes sure their impact on environment is limited.
CEMS is a scientific tool used to monitor flue gas for oxygen, carbon monoxide and carbon-dioxide to provide information for combustion control in industrial settings.
“The concept has a lot of benefit as it captures emissions from smoke stacks of industrial units,” the official said.
In a recent address to Majlis Ash’shura, Mohammed bin Salim al Toobi, Minister of Environment and Climate Affairs, indicated that CCTVs have been made mandatory in factories for providing environment clearances.
He said that Oman has stringent environmental regulations and standards to ensure a balance between requirements of sustainable development and preservation of environment and human health.
“The ministry works to evaluate environmental impact continuously in the legislative, institutional, technical and administrative aspects to respond to the successive environmental changes at the global level, and to keep abreast of the progress witnessed by the Sultanate,” the minister told the Majlis members.
The Environmental Assessment and License Centre at the ministry is responsible for issuing permits for projects that require environmental impact studies. According to WHO figures, an estimated seven million people die prematurely every year from air pollution-related diseases, including strokes and heart diseases, respiratory illnesses and cancer. Air pollution in most major cities exceeds WHO air quality standards. Oman is reported to be one of the leading countries that protects environment through a number of international organisations and agencies as well as many international forums.
Article 4 of Regulation on Controlling Air Pollutants stipulates that in case of any potential risk to human health caused by air emissions released from a work site, the ministry shall specify, from time to time, the necessary mitigation measures to be undertaken by the owner.
“Dark smoke shall not be emitted from a chimney of any building, any industrial/commercial premises, or any other site”, says Article 5. According to WHO estimates, reduction in short-lived climate pollutant emissions from sources like traffic, cooking stoves, agriculture and industry could help trim the rate of global warming by about 0.5°C by 2050.
Many pollutants that damage health also harm the environment and contribute to climate change. These include black carbon from diesel engines, cooking stoves and waste incineration, and ground level ozone, which are harmful but are shortlived in the atmosphere.