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Plastic ban: Oman’s first package-free supermarket good for environment too

17 Mar 2020

With the passage of time people have become increasingly conscious of the ways in which their actions impact the planet. There is growing awareness and conversation revolving around how we as individuals can contribute towards environmental sustainability and how small changes in our day-to-day lives can protect the Earth and minimise our carbon foot print.  

In light of this, the Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs (MECA) recently announced that it will be banning the use of single-use plastic bags from the beginning of 2021. Anyone found violating this law could be hit with fines of up to RO2,000. 

While many countries have already banned the use of single-use plastic, Oman has been quick to follow suit. Just last year, a local female entrepreneur, Sumaiya Khalil launched the sultanate’s first package-free supermarket in attempt to provide customers with products that are nutritious, wholesome, beneficial to health and good for the environment too. The store called Go Green, located in Salam Square, Madinat as Sultan Qaboos, stocks products ranging from non-toxic, zero waste candles, personal products including bamboo toothbrushes and lint brushes, linen tea towels and palm-free, paraben-free dishwashing soap blocks amongst many other items. 

The young entrepreneur who is passionate about environmental conservations says that her heart sinks every time she sees people litter the pristine beaches of Oman while camping, or goes grocery shopping and observes shoppers take away tens of bags, with only a handful of items in each.  

“That’s when I was struck with the idea of coming up with a store that would stock reusable, biodegradable, and environment-friendly products. There is certainly increased awareness amongst the masses, and hence, just making products available in the market makes it easier for people to bring about small changes in their lives to protect the planet. It brings them one step closer to change, and that’s really all we need,” she added.  

The store encourages customers to bring in their own reusable containers that can be used to purchase a wide range of consumables such as milk, lentils, rice, etc.  

“I feel very strongly about the environment. It just makes sense to protect the Earth that we and our future generations will depend upon for survival. With the way fast fashion, travel, deforestation amongst many other things is impacting climate change and air quality, it is important that we start taking adequate measures to ensure we don’t run out of natural resources in the next few decades,” said Sumaiya.  

“I am so glad to see people taking an initiative towards protecting the planet. Just small steps like using reusable plates while camping, or carrying a cloth bag for groceries instead of the traditional plastic bags, goes a long way and can prevent years and years of damage to the environment,” she added. 

Many countries across the globe have observed summers and winters become more severe with each passing year, and hence at this stage, it is vital that we on an individual and organisational level do whatever it takes to protect our habitat.  

(Contributed by Masoomeh Ahsan)  

 

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