Muscat – The sultanate will join the world on Wednesday to celebrate the third International Day of Clean Air for blue skies.
Celebrated on September 7 annually, the theme this year is ‘The Air We Share’, focusing on the transboundary nature of air pollution highlighting the need for collective accountability and action.
Air pollution knows no national borders and is all-pervasive. Moreover, it is strongly correlated to other global crises, including climate change, biodiversity loss, other forms of pollution, social and gender parity as well as economic development.
In a statement, Environment Authority (EA) said, ‘There is need to raise awareness about the problem, impact and solutions for air pollution. The need for collection and sharing data, research and best practices as well as strengthening regional and international cooperation for efficient implementation has never been greater.’
The authority has established 35 ambient air quality monitoring stations in industrial and urban areas scattered across different governorates to monitor air pollutants and other substances, including gases that can harm human beings, animals and plants.
The authority also obliges companies to implement measures to reduce the concentration of emissions from stationary sources such as chimneys, and has installed more than 100 emissions monitoring devices to this end.
Additionally, EA has installed 25 surveillance cameras in various regions, conducted field visits to potential sources of emissions, and followed up on companies to ensure implementation of measures to reduce concentration of air pollutants.
‘The authority is currently working, in coordination with partners, to enhance the monitoring for air, water and marine environment pollutants, and to implement projects to achieve the strategic objectives of Oman Vision 2040, in particular, the goal related to high-quality, pollution-free environments,’ EA stated.
According to the United Nations, which designated September 7 as International Day of Clean Air for blue skies in 2019, clean air is important for the health and day-to-day lives of people, while air pollution is the single greatest environmental risk to human health and one of the main avoidable causes of death and disease globally. ‘Air pollution disproportionately affects women, children and older persons, and also has a negative impact on ecosystems.’