Environment Society of Oman launches clean-up initiative

Energy Monday 04/April/2016 23:02 PM
By: Times News Service
Environment Society of Oman launches clean-up initiative

Muscat: The Environment Society of Oman (ESO) has started its Daymaniyat Islands Nature Reserve (DINR) clean-up initiative sponsored by Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) and has successfully completed the first two beach clean-ups on the Al Joon and Qismah Islands within the marine nature reserve.
The beach clean-up united more than 50 volunteers from different backgrounds, including employees from the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries Wealth, Marine Science and Fisheries Centre and the Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs led by ESO’s Volunteer and Events Coordinator, Antonia Vegh.
Volunteers picked up litter left behind by beach users and fishermen and refuse that had washed up on the beaches. The initiative is designed to raise awareness and tackle litter problems over a three-month period. Data collection plans are scheduled to document types and amounts of litter collected, enabling ESO to have a better understanding of the best way to mitigate the issue of coastal and marine debris.
Over two days, the team of volunteers removed a total of 560 kilograms (kg) of trash and pollutants from two of Oman`s beloved Daymaniyat beaches. The collected waste was segregated into two categories: non-recyclable 211.5 kg for disposal and recyclable 348.5 kg for recycling.
Lamees Daar, executive director of ESO said, “We launched our latest anti-littering and awareness drive to keep the Daymaniyat Islands in pristine condition and preserve its fragile ecosystem. The sustainable project engages the local community and identifies the most common types of litter left behind so we can develop more informed ways of promoting conservation on the Island. We are also raising awareness on the impact litter has on sensitive coastal and marine habitats. Ultimately, our aim is to encourage people to act more responsibly and sustain the rich biodiversity of Oman’s only marine protected area.”
Abdul-Amir Al Ajmi, PDO’s external affairs and value creation director, said: “PDO is an environmentally sensitive operator and is proud of its strong relationship with ESO, which does an excellent job protecting the Sultanate’s wonderful natural treasures.”
He added: “Our staff and contractors have participated in a number of clean-ups and last year we launched our Bea’tona campaign, which focuses on themes, such as littering, energy conservation, renewable energy and water conservation. So we were delighted to be able to support the ESO on the DNIR initiative to help preserve the islands’ fragile ecosystem.”
Four Daymaniyat Islands are being targeted for beach clean-ups; Al Joon, Qismah, Jebel Al Kabeer and Al Kharabah Islands. As part of the initiative, the upcoming events will include two more beach clean-ups, four underwater clean-ups and awareness sign installation.
Areas for underwater clean-ups will be selected from more than 20 recognised dive sites off six islands: Western Islands (Clive Rock and Sir Island), Al Joon Island, Jebel Al Kabeer, Eastern Islands (Hayut Run and Aquarium), and Al Qismah Island. These islands and dive sites are the most ecologically sensitive, and the most affected by different activities and will benefit most from clean-ups.
DINR was established in 1996, and consists of a group of nine small uninhabited islands where visitors are not permitted to land between May 1 and November 1 because of bird nesting activities.
Throughout the rest of the year, the islands are a popular site for recreational activities, such as snorkelling, diving, picnics, and camping, with a special permit from Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs. Famed for their unique ecosystem, the islands are regarded as one of the most internationally important conservation areas. They host beautiful coral reefs, nesting beaches for hawksbill and green turtles, and are home to a large number of nesting seabirds. As a result of the increase in leisure and commercial activities, the archipelago has experienced a steady increase in litter over the years.
ESO thanked the main sponsor of the project, PDO, volunteers and supporters, which include the Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs; the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries Wealth, Marine Science and Fisheries Centre; Oman Flour Mills SAOG; Shell Marketing; TRACCS; Almouj Marina and Averda.