Muscat – The Environment Authority (EA) announced on Monday a series of ambitious projects aimed at protecting and sustaining natural resources and wildlife, as part of the ‘Environmental Harvest for the Year 2023’ press conference.
Under the patronage of Dr Abdullah bin Ali al Amri, Chairman of the Environment Authority, the conference reviewed key initiatives and achievements in environmental work.
Amri highlighted the diverse achievements in environmental work at national and community levels. These achievements spanned policies, legislation, and various environmental sectors, including terrestrial, marine, and wetlands.
A notable initiative highlighted was the establishment of a gene bank for preserving the genetic assets of wild animals, aimed at ensuring their sustainability. In the National Biodiversity Survey Project, 714 sites covering 26,600km were surveyed, documenting 40 species, representing 75% of the targeted area.
EA reported a significant 5.09% increase in the tree cover in Dhofar Governorate since 1994, indicating progress in combating desertification. Additionally, a campaign to combat invasive birds resulted in the elimination of 442,440 birds, including mynas and crows.
The Authority also undertook the ‘Preparing a Map of Vital Land Corridors’ project over two years, creating five vital corridor maps across Oman, including Musandam and Dhofar. The ‘Annual National Programme for Monitoring Pollutants in the Marine Environment’ project, covering 19 coastal sites, showed slight increases in mercury levels in bottom sediments in Muscat and Al Wusta, and a small increase in chromium, aluminium, nickel, and iron concentrations in the northern sultanate, it was revealed.
The ‘Marine Mammal Species Survey in Musandam Governorate’ project aimed to identify species distribution, alongside awareness campaigns and workshops.
Eight projects were implemented in pollution control, including inventorying radioactive sources, national chemicals management, waste management, and studies on mercury and hazardous waste. These projects aim to enhance environmental safety and awareness, EA stated.
The National Zero Neutrality Programme monitors key sectors like oil, gas, electricity, and transportation, stated EA, seeking a balance between environmental sustainability and socio-economic impact.
To enhance environmental monitoring, the Authority is introducing modern technologies and vehicle tracking devices to monitor fuel consumption and environmental efficiency of cars.
Finally, as part of the ambitious 10 million tree planting project, more than 132,980 trees have been planted, with over 11 million seeds sown. The EA also reported a total of 603 environmental violations and 518 complaints, indicating active enforcement of environmental regulations.
These initiatives underscore the Environment Authority’s commitment to fostering biodiversity, promoting sustainable practices, and enhancing environmental health and monitoring across Oman.