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Sustainable practices part of Oman’s tradition


Proper guidance and a certain degree of initiative may lead to an entirely different approach towards waste management in Oman, as a survey done by EcoMENA suggests, “the Omani society is ready to engage actively in initiatives to promote more responsible consumption habits and sustainable waste management.” EcoMENA is a volunteer-driven initiative to create mass environmental awareness and to foster sustainability worldwide in general and MENA in particular.

Discussing the case of Oman towards waste management, Jamila J Hakam in a study mentioned that the Omani culture “has a strong tradition of conservative use, re-use, repurposing, and recycling. Many of the traditional practices of family and community living now thought to be ‘outdated’ are highly efficient and ecologically sound.” The recent concept of three Rs (re-use, repurposing, and recycling) to conserve the environment, is inherent in Omani society. Just a small push may have far-reaching positive results.

To score her point of Omanis’ natural inclination towards heritage and culture, and its possible reflection on sustainable waste management Jamila mentioned, “Omani men, women and children have the example of their grandparents to guide them in reviving and re-establishing local, traditional, sustainable and environmentally-friendly practices of careful consumption and waste management.”

The study took note of a full-scale survey of attitudes and awareness along the lines of the Sultan Qaboos University’s Geography Department’s investigation on climate change awareness and perceptions in residents of Muscat.

Conditions, according to the document, are ripe for the implementation of a network of well-designed, integrated, and efficiently executed recycling programmes that are accessible to the Omani population where they live, work and go to school.

Back to basics, that apply old ways of shopping, storage, preparation, and disposal of food and other consumables can be hugely beneficial in sustainable development.

“At the level of the household, families can avoid buying packaged pre-processed foods, use drinking water supply services which provide refillable containers/dispensers instead of buying bottled water, bring their reusable shopping bags and request that purchases from shops not be placed in plastic bags,” the study stated.

The Omani society is ready to engage actively in initiatives to promote sustainable waste management

As a mark of a fresh initiative, the “households could aim for ‘zero waste’ by applying the four Rs and participating in composting where possible. This is already being done in local rural areas, and it is a practice that is being restored in urban areas of developed countries in Europe, North America, and elsewhere.”

She suggested using consumer clout to change the practices of business and industry. “It is known that businesses that serve consumers are very sensitive to customer demands. With the food service and hospitality industry, individual consumers in Oman can effect change by demanding less wasteful and more sustainable practices and options from the industry (eg, compostable packaging, less packaging, appropriate portion sizes and eco-friendly food containers in restaurants, and filtered water instead of bottled water in restaurants and hotels).

Commenting on the burgeoning waste problem, she said, “the solution is local, but it has definite regional and potential global application.”

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