Sohar Port inks pact for air quality monitoring

MUSCAT, JULY 8 – Sohar Port and Freezone (SOHAR) in cooperation with the port community has signed a contract with the Omani company, Nakheel Environmental & Industrial Solutions, to install, operate, and maintain an Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Network (AQMN) within the industrial port. The signing of the contract is in line with the Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs’ (MECA) intention to enhance environmental monitoring at Sohar. Mark Geilenkirchen, the CEO of Sohar Port and Freezone, signed the agreement on behalf of Sohar Port and Freezone, while Nakheel was represented by its GM, Ali al Hussaini. Installation of the AQMN will start immediately and the system is expected to be operational by quarter four of 2018.
Commenting on the reasoning behind the project, Mark Geilenkirchen said, “Good environmental management is an essential element to sustain the development at Sohar Port and Freezone, therefore the monitoring of the environmental impact on the surrounding area is very important. In addition, the establishment of AQMN is the actual beginning of the integrated environmental monitoring, which will contribute to protect the environment within and around Sohar Port and Freezone. We are proud to have an Omani company that is equipped with the required skills, technology, and expertise to provide us with such a solution.”
The AQMN project will consist of a combination of fixed and mobile stations positioned at critical locations surrounding the Port and Freezone. The location selected carefully using the result from air dispersion modelling by Lakes Environmental Software ‘AERMOD’ which was conducted in coordination with MECA and Sohar Port and Freezone relevant tenants. The AQMN will measure, in real time, the ambient air quality surrounding Sohar Port and Freezone. The AQMN is one of the key projects that will help to ensure that the development of the Port and Freezone is sustainable and complying with the national and international environmental standards.
The AQMN is part of a long term strategic programme that commenced in 2017 and executed by the SOHAR Port and Freezone, in close cooperation with MECA; which aims to continuously enhance the environmental management in the area. This programme focusses on environmental permitting, compliance of all Port and Freezone operations with Best International Practices and continuous monitoring of the impact of the operations on the environment including water, soil, and air.
Ahmed bin Zaher al Hinai, the Director General of Environmental Affairs at MECA said, “The Ministry is working in line with the requirements of each stage of the development and continues in its efforts to improve and develop environmental management in coordination with its partners in various fields. The AQMN project is aimed at strengthening the environmental monitoring system in Sohar Port and Freezone, as it will provide integrated data on ambient air quality; which is directly connected to MECA monitoring system and will largely replace the ambient air monitoring stations installed by individual tenants, which are often installed within their respective premises.”
Ahmed bin Zaher al Hinai also mentioned that MECA is continuing to disseminate and develop this model in coordination with other industrial areas within Oman, in order to encourage and achieve closer partnerships within the private sector in relation to environmental monitoring. Finally, he expressed his appreciation of Sohar Port and Freezone, as well as its tenants, for their cooperation in making this project a success.
The project is a great example of Public Private Partnership because the project is supported and financed by Sohar Port and Freezone tenants and will be executed in close coordination with MECA.
“The development of the AQMN is great news for the local community surrounding Sohar Port and Freezone, as it represents the continuation of the efforts being made by Sohar Port and Freezone in cooperation with MECA and SOHAR tenants to enhance the environmental monitoring in the area. Nakheel will work on installing fixed and mobile stations for monitoring of ambient air quality, using state-of-the-art technologies that are in line with United States Environmental Protection Agency standards. These technologies will also be connected to the Central Data Management System at Sohar Port and Freezone in order to instantly read, record, and analyse the data collected. Also, this system will be connected with MECA’s monitoring centre in order to enable MECA to check environmental status of Sohar Port and Freezone directly. I am proud to announce that the AQMN at Sohar Port and Freezone will be the first-of-its-kind in the Sultanate,” added by Ali al Hussaini.