Wednesday, May 31, 2023 | Dhu al-Qaadah 10, 1444 H
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How can we tackle the heat waves?


The Sultanate of Oman is one of the most thinly populated and least polluted places on the planet, but still has been on the frontline when it comes to facing the effects of global warming.

We are only at the start of summer 2023 and the three-day spell of heat wave earlier this week was highly unbearable with people sharing images of real-time temperature from their vehicles.

It was noticed that temperatures touched around the mid-40s around 10 am in the morning, not sure if it was something unusual, but certainly something new at the start of the season.

Perception-wise for most of the local population, especially for those in the capital, summer months have been getting extended and winter has been getting shorter and less intense over the past few years.

This may be in line with the global trends and researchers pass the blame for global warming on human actions such as carbon emissions.

Speaking to the Observer, several citizens and residents admitted that it is time for the authorities to do something to lessen the impact of global warming.

“Even economically, summer is becoming unviable because air-conditioners must operate for longer hours and thus have a direct bearing on electricity bills. Remember, we no longer live in the era of subsidies,” said Sharifa, an expatriate who operates three ACs simultaneously at night.

She added, “It is not just about the electricity, but also the number of carbons emitted from these appliances all the time.” Yogesh Parekh, a former resident who continues to visit the Sultanate, said, “I stayed in the Sultanate from the mid-70s till 2005 and since then have been coming here every year. The city is certainly getting hotter and less green. Earlier, the heat emitted from mountain rocks was filtered and neutralised by the trees. Today, we hardly see thick green cover around buildings or on the side of roads because those plants have been cut to accommodate the growing number of vehicles as parking lots.” Apart from developing green boulevards, walking and cycling tracks, and the electric vehicle in the residential neighbourhoods, architects suggest that the planners should also focus on vertical vegetation, encouraging residents to grow plants in and around their flats which will minimise the impact of direct sunlight and thereby limit the use of air-conditioners and electricity.

“We can easily grow plants that are suitable to local climate conditions and contribute individually to save the environment. All buildings that are planned for the future must make provisions for vertical vegetation,” an expert said.

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