Plastic free: Living with ‘zero waste’ in Oman

BY RUQAYA AL KINDI

MUSCAT: Is living a plastic-free life doable in Oman?

For 22-year old Samahram al Rahbi, it is quite a challenge but definitely doable and she is proof that if one is conscious of his/her actions, then nothing is impossible.

Samahram is on a mission to replace the largest possible amount of plastic with alternative environmental products in order to reduce the damage this pestilence is causing the environment.

“I decided to start with myself. I believe that postponement and indifference will destroy the earth and the coming generations will live in destruction because of the results of our actions in the present,” she said.

 

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In the past, Samahram is a prolific user of plastic like everyone else. She changed her ways after watching a documentary that tackles one the greatest problems of our generation. This was cemented when she came across different blogs of environmental activist warning about the damages they cause to the environment.

“I closely followed and watched some videos of people living a zero plastic waste lifestyle. They inspired me so much. From there, I started with the simplest things. I stopped using plastic straws first, then moved to shopping bags, to plastic cups among others,” she said.

“From the simple choices I made, I started to notice that there was a personal change in my lifestyle until I get to a point that what I have now are the most basic and friendly to the environment. I am currently at 85% in living a plastic-free lifestyle but I continue to change,” she said.

Samahram believes that everyone has a social responsibility to protect and preserve the environment. People, as she noted, can follow these simple steps to reach zero waste and to preserve the environment.

Replace plastic toothbrushes with wooden ones. Use a wooden comb instead of plastic. For men, replace plastic razor blades with reusable ones. Use fabric bags for shopping. Also, use glass containers when buying natural oils and shift to reusable glass bottles instead of plastic glasses.

While the zero plastic waste movement is yet to catch in the country, there is already a growing number of people who takes the matter seriously. For these people, their yearly plastic trash output is very little. Embracing a modern-minimalist lifestyle, the change not only saves them money and but enriches their lives as well.

Arfad Student Company that participated in the Injaz Oman Competition 2020, creates high-quality and environmentally friendly products (pollution-free). The company centres many of their products on Agar as an alternative raw material for industrial plastic. Agar is extracted from red algae and seaweed and totally eco friendly.

“The product is 99% natural and healthy for human use because it does not contain harmful components. It can turn into organic fertilizer, as it contains the essential elements to promote plant growth, and it is self-degradable (Decomposes within a year),” said Mattar Al Muqbali, the CEO of the company.

With its innovative raw material, Arfad is targeting manufacturers of plastic products, such as cups, containers, bags, and other products, to allure them to turn into environmentally friendly and biodegradable products, or by introducing the raw material into plastic products to accelerate the decomposition process.

Plamore is another student company involved in the achievement of Oman 2020 that seeks to find environmental solutions to reduce the use of plastic by producing vital strings extracted from natural marine algae as a substitute for the plastic strands used as ink in printers that print 3D models.

“We seek to expand the fields in which we use our raw product to include the manufacture of environmentally friendly bags in solidarity with the Ministerial Decision that prevents the consumption of single-use plastic bags from the beginning of next year,” said Manar Al Jahwari, the CEO of the company.

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