Go Green

It may be noted that the Innovation Park Muscat has already set the benchmarks in optimising energy consumption — it has achieved capacity to reduce energy consumption by 84 per cent —through its District Cooling System, waste heat recycling and reduced carbon emissions.
At the NGO level, the Environment Society of Oman and several other groups have been doing an excellent job in promoting environmental awareness and conservation projects.
Taking its commitment to and concern for the environment beyond national boundaries, the Sultanate instituted the biennial UNESCO Sultan Qaboos Prize for Environmental Preservation in 1989. It recognises individuals and organisations that contribute to preserving the environment in any part of the world. The first award (1991) went to The Instituto de Ecología A C of Mexico.
Innovative environmental initiatives in the Sultanate include the Mangrove Afforestation Program, Sooty Falcon Survey Project, Sustainable Development guidelines, strategic plans to address oil spills, protection of water supply wells and identifying new conservation zones. Also Oman is party to several international environmental treaties and conventions such as the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants.
The Mangrove Afforestation Program aims at providing a natural environment conducive for the growth and reproduction of marine life, at over 20 coastal locations in the Sultanate, including those in Muscat, Sur, North Al Batinah, Masirah, Bar Al Hakaman, and Salalah.
The country has several conservation projects targeting endangered species such as the Arabian leopard, Arabian tahr, oryx, turtles and falcons. The Office for Conservation of the Environment at the Diwan of Royal Court is working on developing national and regional conservation plans.
Environment field research is another key area, and the Diwan of Royal Court facilitated collaboration between the National Field Research Centre for Environmental Conservation and the international agency Earthwatch to develop field research in the Sultanate.
At another level, a committee for the development of sustainable development indicators has been formed to aid strategic planning, supported by the National Center for Statistics and Information.
The National Oil Spill Contingency Plan is designed to tackle environmental issues posed by the rising number of coastal facilities, such as ports and industrial zones, and oil tankers passing through Oman’s territorial waters.
Addressing the digital concerns of the times, the ITA (Information Technology Authority) has come up with the Green Intuitive project towards establishing a “green digital environment” by creating a sound IT eco-system that is committed to reducing pollution, promoting a culture of recycling, and creating an environment-friendly workplace.
Commendable projects, indeed. Isn’t it quite befitting that the Sultanate welcomes every New Year with a renewed commitment to protect its environment — by observing January 8 as Oman Environment Day?