Sohar Port’s plan to make Oman a cleaner, greener nation

Energy Wednesday 13/December/2017 13:14 PM
By: Times News Service
Sohar Port’s plan to make Oman a cleaner, greener nation

Muscat: Sohar Port is helping create a cleaner, greener Oman that will be appreciated by current and future residents of the Sultanate, by initiating a recycling initiative for plastics, glass and paper.

Widely recognised as one of the greenest ports in the Arab world, Sohar Port’s strictly kept and closely-monitored environmental policies are a matter of pride for the organisation, and they are now looking to encourage others to recycle garbage as well.

Recently, the port installed drop-off points at strategic locations around the Port and Freezone. Colour-coded bins accept glass, paper and plastics, while solar powered, backlit panels allow the latest environmental campaign messages to be displayed.

“This is not simply an aesthetic problem — we know these materials breakdown over time to create so-called micro-plastics, that are ingested by fish and other marine organisms and can then easily enter the human food chain,” said Sohar Port and Freezone CEO Mark Geilenkirchen.

The company also designed a special campaign poster, which shows an underwater view of a beautiful coral reef.

However, when you look more closely the coral is made of colourful plastic waste, the jellyfish are floating plastic bags, and a passing school of fish are in fact old bottles. The headline makes the message clear: ‘Recycle it up here. Not down there.’

What makes the recycling of plastic even more urgent is that different plastic materials have different properties and densities. For example, clear plastic drink bottles made of PET (polythene terephthalate), with resin code #1 stamped on the bottom, are denser than seawater and sink when they enter the ocean. These, when broken down, are then ingested by fish and marine mammals.

Although the wellbeing of the world’s oceans has raised increased concerns in the recent past, the littering of the world’s oceans is not a new concern: in 2014, a one-day clean-up of beaches around the world by International Coastal Clean-up volunteers collected more than 5,500 metric tons of rubbish, including more than two million cigarette butts and hundreds of thousands of food wrappers, drink bottles, bottle caps, drinking straws and plastic bags.

Sohar Port and Freezone aims to reduce the amount of material discarded around its concession areas through improved environmental awareness initiatives, beach clean-up volunteer days, and better communication between the various stakeholders involved.

Geilenkirchen added: “When it comes to environmental pollution, prevention is always the best option and our new recycling bins will play a small but important part.”

The company’s decision to institute this recycling programme comes just a few days after Oman decided to join the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Clean Seas initiative, a global undertaking that looks to clean up the world’s oceans by instituting plastic bag bans, promoting recycling, and setting up marine reserves. 40 nations have joined the initiative so far.