Marking the World Environment Day on June 6, outstanding environmental efforts by individuals, government organisations and corporates were felicitated at the fourth edition of Oman Green Awards (OGA) at Hotel Intercontinental Oman.
The fourth Oman Green Awards (OGA) were given away on World Environment Day at a high-profile ceremony witnessed by environmentalists drawn from a cross section of the Sultanate’s eco-conscious society.
A total of nine categories of awards, divided into winners and special commendation, were given away amidst thunderous applauses from the audience, which appreciated the tremendous dedication and commitment of the nominees towards the environmental vision of Oman.
The chief guest HE Mohammed bin Salim al Toobi, Minister of Environment and Climate Affairs, Sultanate of Oman and Her Highness Sayyida Tania al Said graced the awards function which was held at the Intercontinental Hotel Jibreen Ballroom, whose ambience was transformed into a green motif.
OGA 2013 got over 100 nominations and saw some intense competition between companies and institutions in nine categories. The final results were collated on the basis of the marks given by an august panel of judges which included Mahad Baawain, director, Centre for Environmental Studies and Research, Sultan Qaboos University; Dr Ali Al Kiyumi, director general for nature conservation, Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs; Dr Issa Bin Said Al Shuaily from the Ministry of Health and Mayank Singh, group editor, OER.
The winners of the awards and special commendations respectively in each category were Qalhat LNG and Carillion Alawi (Green Guardian award); Ras Al Hamra Development School project and The Wave, Muscat (Green Innovation award); Bank Muscat and Sadolin Paints (Green Campaign of the Year award); Caledonian College and British School Muscat (Green Education award); Mustafa Barami and Rashid Mohammed Al Mughairy (Green Champion award); Bechtel Enka Bahwan (BEB) Consortium and ABB LLC – Oman (Green Footprint award); Muscat Hills Golf Course and Green Cover (Green Landscape award); and Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries and Ray Eco-Logic (Green Research award).
As award after award was announced, it was clearly evident that OGA has been a catalyst and a source of inspiration, both for corporates and individuals, to put in their best endeavours to protect and preserve the ecology of the Sultanate. OGA, which are Oman’s first and the only environment awards, offer a unique opportunity for companies, individuals as well as corporates to participate in a national environmental awareness platform and showcase their achievements in preserving the country’s environment and natural resources.
HE Toobi who expressed his pleasure to be associated with OGA said that all the nominees are winners of OGA. “We are very happy to partner this event as this speaks of our commitment to contribute to any efforts which promote the environmental cause. Every year, one of our director participates in this award as a judge,” HE Toobi said.
OGA was held in association with the Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs, Ministry of Health and Muscat Municipality. Haya Water was the green Oman partner while the associate partner was Vale. The support partners were Oman Oil Marketing Company; Panasonic; Bank Muscat; Sadolin Paints; Oman Hotels and Green Cover. The media partners were Times of Oman and Al Shabiba while the radio partners were Merge and Wisal. Others who partnered OGA include Dessert dreams (ambiance partner); Talentz Center (light and sound); Oman Printers and Stationers (print partner); and Infoline (call centre). The OGA programme began with a riveting video which showcased some of the burning environmental issues of our time and demand concerted effort from us to save our planet for the future generation.
Students of the British School Muscat gave a performance known as “The Big Green Adventure”, to send across a message to succeeding generations to inculcate green values at an early age. This was followed by a short film about Oman Oil Marketing Company’s operations in the Sultanate.
A presentation on Sustainable Development with the 2013 theme for World Environment Day – Think, Eat, Save – which aims to empower local communities to make informed decisions regarding their food choices was presented by Nashwa al Rawahy, senior consultant, clean energy and sustainability services, Ernst & Young.
The award presentation ceremony was also interspersed by a case study on Eco Haus – a modern zero-energy building. Martin Werminghausen, architect and urban planner, head of department and dean of urban design and architecture at Gutech spoke about how zero-energy buildings can reduce high per capita energy consumption of fossil fuels.
Mementos were also presented to Green Oman Partners namely Hussain Hassan Ali AbdulHussain, CEO of Haya Water; Marcos Beluco, CEO, Vale Oman; Faisal Al Shanfari of Oman Oil Marketing Company; Mohammed Al Kindi, human resources manager Sadoline; Sayeed, CEO, Green Cover; and representatives of Panasonic and Bank Muscat.
Developing grassy playgrounds
In the next five years’ time, Bank Muscat will be developing green playing fields across Oman as part of its Green Sport initiative
The Green Sport initiative of Bank Muscat aims to contributing towards developing a sporting nation by supporting and financing sports clubs across Oman to green their playing fields. Launched in 2002, in association with the Ministry of Sports Affairs, the five-year programme seeks to promote sustainable sports infrastructure at the grass root level. The bank recognises that local clubs wield immense influence on neighbourhood communities, especially the youth; hence clubs with modern infrastructure facilities can help raise sporting heroes for the country. The Green Sports initiative is in line with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), which has included Green Sports in its current ten-year programme. Sporting activities involving environmental commitment are now playing an increasingly important role at the global level in focusing on protecting our planet. The Green Sports initiative allows Bank Muscat to closely align itself with the global UNEP programme. The bank is committed to developing green playing fields across Oman and launching community projects targeting the youth, who represent 70 per cent of the Sultanate’s population.
Over a five-year-period, the bank will support all deserving clubs across the Sultanate to green their playing fields. The beneficiary clubs and teams are selected for greening their playing fields on the basis of their capability to suatin the project on a long-term basis.
Many CSR projects by Bank Muscat will be clustered around sports, an essential activity for everyone’s well-being. These sports activities will take place in green fields developed by the bank.
Environmentally friendly paints
Sadolin Paints, which manufactures and recommends only environmental friendly products, accorded top priority to the safety and health of its workers and consumers through the Safe Homes Happy Homes initiative
Safe Homes Happy Homes, a health initiative by Sadolin Paints, aims to ensure the safety of every individual starting from factory workers manufacturing paints to end applicators and consumers by developing water based low VOC products. The company is committed to provide world class environmentally friendly paints and strives to provide products which are just not best in performance, but which are safe and can minimise the impact on the environment. The company had conducted a special seminar titled the “Live Green” which focused on promoting green products and adherence to health and safety practices in the manufacturing environment and trade. This was held in November 2012 and was attended by over 200 invitees including customers, business partners, industry experts and key decision makers in the Sultanate.
The company manufactures, promotes and recommends only low VOC water based environmental friendly products. Sadolin has introduced a series of environmentally friendly products in the market and was the first paint company to manufacture decorative products in 1998 which were lead and chrome free. The company also markets and manufactures a complete range of water based interior décor effect finishes. Sadolin started to market in Oman water based products that are LEED compliant (VOC of less than 50 gms per litre) from 2009. In addition, the company has taken up a number of measures to reduce its Water and Electricity Consumption /KL of production and to reduce wastage in the manufacturing segment.
Paper from palm leaves
Mustafa Barami has blazed a trail with his ‘Paper Making from Omani Palm Leaves’ initiative which uses palm leaf waste for making paper
There are around 8 million palm trees in the Sultanate which produce approximately160,000 tonnes of waste palm leaves annually. Unfortunately, most of these waste materials end up being burnt adding to the emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Mustafa Al Barami came up with his innovative idea which has the potential not only to solve this environmental issue but also to bring into being a new industry in the country. The project has various advantages like solving the environmental issue of burning palm leaves thus reducing the emission of carbon dioxide while burning palm leaves. Secondly, it uses a local raw material for the production of the first Omani pulp and paper. The project has the potential to enhance economic growth, create jobs and to further corporate social responsibility. Mustafa has found out that converting all of the palm leave waste in Oman for paper making could cover about 40 per cent of the Sultanate’s demand of paper which is a very interesting as the Sultanate imports 100 per cent of its paper from outside the country which accounts for almost 1 per cent of its GDP.
“I have been working for developing my innovation since about two years,” says Barami. “In September 2012, I joined the Cell Entrepreneurs Programme to conduct the business model, business plan, feasibility study and R&D. Hopefully, I will set up the first paper mill in the Sultanate for producing specialty paper from palm leaves by the end of this year.”
By relying solely on solar energy and candle light, Rashid Mohammad Al Mughairy’s Nomadic Desert Camp provides the visitors a unique retreat away from the stress of everyday life .
At the desert camp of Rashid Mohammed Al Mughairy you can enjoy the unspoiled beauty of desert life. The camp combines Oman’s traditional bedu lifestyle with modernity in order to keep the desert clean and raise awareness about the Sultanate’s natural way of life. It relies heavily on old bedu methods – its huts are built from palm wood, the carpets are made from goat hair and it uses bedouin tents.
The visitors are given a glimpse of the simplicity of the desert life. By relying solely on solar energy and candle light, the camp provides them with a unique retreat away from the stress of everyday life. “ By choosing not to have electricity in our guest huts or a generator, we stay true to the nature that surrounds us. Quietness is very important for our visitors and us,” says Al Mughairy, who has been working in the tourism sector for the last 20 years. “We firmly believe that it is in our interest not to turn the desert into another highway, but to keep it quiet and natural. Taking a cue from us other camps are considering the use of solar energy. Visitors appreciate our commitment to solar energy in the middle of the desert. Our bedu neighbours are still impressed how we can get energy from sunshine; some have started to use it for their private tents.”
Al Mughairy first saw solar panels and wind turbines installed in Europe in 1999. Since then he had been dreaming to have it for the camp. “After all, we always have sunshine and wind. When we finally installed it in the desert in 2009, Omanis still didn’t believe that such a small camp as ours is looking to make such a big investment in environmentally friendly energy. It’s not always easy to shun modern life when running a business, especially in the middle of nowhere, but I’m proud we always have and will try to make use of existing local and natural resources to support the community,” concludes Al Mughairy.
Caledonian College of Engineering has implemented a slew of initiatives to create a clean and green culture amongst its faculty and students, by promoting green research, recycling, reduction of papers, energy and water saving and developing greenery
Caledonian College of Engineering provides an innovative and creative environmental learning experience to its students. The college has shown its commitment to protect the environment by implementing various initiatives every year like creating a clean and green culture amongst the faculty, promoting green research, recycling, reduction of papers, energy and water saving and developing greenery in the campus. Students of the college have done projects on renewable energy, debates, quizzes, conferences and workshop on renewable energy and waste -to-energy. Some other initiatives include the involvement of the student community in promoting the green awareness programmes, green energy-based research projects undertaken by the staff as well as the students and the publications on renewable energy applications.
As a part of its corporate social responsibility, the college took a new initiative to promote green awareness among the students in Omani schools. Halima Mohammed Said Al Ghfri, a student from the college, supported by Prof S Feroz and team from Caledonian Centre for Creativity and Innovation is taking a lead role in visiting the schools and interacting with children by presenting a short power point presentation on “Save water, Save power” and also giving demonstration on usage of renewable energy systems with the help of small models prepared by the students.
Catching them young
Over 60 children from various international schools in Muscat sat together to produce an environmental charter at the International Primary School Conference organised by British School Muscat
British School Muscat’s Primary Schools Sustainability Conference brought children from across the International community together to learn about the environment and to work together to form an environmental charter, which could be adopted in all International Schools in Oman. As many as 64 children aged from five to 11 years attended the conference and worked in mixed age groups to produce a draft charter. Every child, cutting across the age groups, was given the opportunity to voice one area that they feel is important in terms of sustaining their environment. Workshops held included planting sustainably to attract bees, making womeries, using water box technology to plant a frankincense tree etc. The children learned about solar energy and created a solar oven and films to raise awareness of environmental issues. They looked at the importance of the date palm and created mats from palm fronds. They also learned about the importance of conserving water through water activities. With the help of a marine biologist, they understood about the significance of the marime environment of Oman and what they can do to conserve it. The younger children use waste plastic to produce clothes and put on a fashion show. Most importantly the children learned the importance of working together to make a difference. An idea raised at this conference is to form an eco-council with members coming from the international schools. This would allow the international school community to work collaboratively, which in turn will have a greater impact on environmental issues in Oman. Followed by the conference, the school has set up The Littered Landscapes Photography Competition and organised a conference for children.
Using the tried and tested 3R
Bechtel Enka Bahwan (BEB) Consortium which is designing and building the new $1.8bn passenger terminal complex at Muscat International Airport implemented the tried and tested waste Reduction, Reuse, Recycling programme to reduce the carbon footprint of the construction works The Muscat International Airport project is a mega project worth billions of dollars. The $1.8bn passenger terminal complex being built by Bechtel Enka Bahwan (BEB) Consortium has about 12,000 workers working on the construction site at peak production. The BEB consortium of companies decided to implement the simple waste reduction measures namely Waste Reduction /Reuse / Recycling Programme in order to reduce the carbon footprint of the construction works. The goal was to maximise the opportunities to reduce, reuse and recycle waste products/ materials during the construction period in order to prevent waste being disposed of in Oman’s landfill sites and thereby effectively reduce the carbon footprint of the project.
The success of the programme was measured by tracking waste management information and procurement data (including disposal records, invoices etc) and daily site based observations. By analysing the volumes of waste diverted from Oman’s landfill sites, it was possible to demonstrate the reduction in the carbon footprint.
Metal (rebar) and concrete blocks were recycled to make ‘Candy cane’ uprights for pedestrian / vehicle routes in order to provide suitable segregation, while wood was to be recycled to make wooden frames for cable management on site and for additional support for formwork, notice boards and signage. Further, all the waste concrete was used for pathways, lay-down areas and general storage areas as well as for building containers for hazardous materials.
Due to the simplicity, low cost and success of the waste reduction measures implemented at this construction project, the same initiatives and principles can be applied to all other construction projects throughout Oman.
Energy efficiency improvements
In order to improve the energy efficiency for the long-term, ABB LLC – Oman helped customers by providing specialists to audit energy use and identified areas for improvement with equipment, systems and solutions
The International Energy Agency (IEA), in its 2012 World Energy Outlook, says that economically viable energy efficiency measures could halve energy demand growth by 2035. Energy efficiency could delay the “lock-in” of CO2 emissions foreseen under the 2°C scenario from 2017 to 2022.
Based on this background, ABB produces a wide range of products and services using pioneering innovative technologies to reduce energy consumption and improve productivity of its customers. ABB partnered with the customers, assuming the performance risk for the solutions implemented and bundling multiple small projects into one major project to simplify execution.
ABB took into consideration customers’ risk aversion by providing confidence in the delivery of real energy savings through expertise and tools to execute efficiently, helping with financing where needed, and measurement technologies to demonstrate performance improvement.
The ABB i-bus KNX intelligent building control system provided to the local customers such as Oman Arab Bank, bank muscat, Oman Botanical Garden and Marriott Hotel – Salalah enabled them to save energy in double percentage figures. Lighting and Air-conditioning makes 30 per cent and 70 per cent respectively and a total of 35 per cent saving is achieved by energy efficiency techniques.
As part of the company’s goals to steadily increase the efficiency of its own operations, ABB set themselves the target of reducing energy use by 2.5 percent per year.
An eye on public places
Qalhat LNG has supported many eco-initiatives like greening of public areas in various places across the Sultanate which has encouraged other companies to take up similar initiatives
The greening of public areas like parks, sports complexes etc by Qalhat LNG has served people of all age-brackets and made a good impact on their health and social integration. In addition, the green areas have contributed to the development of sport and other related social activities in their respective communities. Tens of thousands of Omani riyals have been allocated every year in supporting the similar projects in all parts of Oman.
The projects included greening of public areas in Qalhat City Public Park, Masirah Public Park, Sur Highway Planting, playgrounds in Quriyat Sport Club, Musanna Sport Club, Gala Golf Course etc. As the initiatives are driven by social responsibility, the local communities have been quick to embrace them and the feedback received from both officials and people has been superb. The greening of public areas initiative is also in line with Qalhat LNG’s social responsibility strategy that shows a real commitment towards protecting the environment. Moreover, the high sustainability of the initiative is reflected in the development of the communities where the projects were established.
Based on the good reputation and expertise, the company’s initiatives have become the benchmark for similar projects in other parts of the country. The company’s contribution to eco-friendly initiatives and its exceptional effort in this regard have been recognised by government, NGOs, and local community. Inspired by the success of these greening initiatives, several private sector organisations have sought the expertise of Qalhat LNG to undertake similar projects as part of their corporate social responsibility.
Embodiment of sustainability strategy
Carillion Alawi has been an enabler of low carbon economies thus protecting the environment and reducing carbon emission, wastes and water use and enhancing the biodiversity
As one of the leading support services and construction firms in Oman, employing around 9,000 people, Carillion Alawi has managed to reduce carbon emissions by 5 per cent over the previous year and reduced its waste sent to landfill by over 30 per cent and its water use by over 15 per cent.
The company’s vision, as part of its 2020 sustainability strategy, is to be recognised as the leading sustainable business and the leading sustainable support service company. Carillion Alawi will do this by enabling low carbon economies and protecting the environment to reduce carbon emission, wastes and water use, the company is also committed to enhancing biodiversity. Carillion Alawi has set targets in each of these areas and measure performance on a monthly basis. Over the last year the company reduced its carbon emission by 5 per cent on the previous year’s performance, reduced its waste sent to landfill by over 30 per cent and its water use by over 15 per cent. At the Muscat Airport project, Carillion Alawi used kingspan koolduct system and decreased the need for raw steel materials thereby reducing embodied carbon by 30 per cent. The company also formed a partnership with Kala Compost to divert the company’s timber waste from landfill. Around 90 per cent of its waste is recycled in comparison to 45 per cent previously. The company also reduced its water use by operating an on-site sewage treatment plant, thus saving over 6 million gallons of water.
The Information Technology Authority has created one of the best green habitats in its office by working in synergy with its energy-conscious practices, eco-friendly working conditions to ensure environment sustainability
As the apex government organisation responsible for realising the eOman vision for information technology as per His Majesty Sultan Qaboos’s mandate for e-government, the Information Technology Authority (ITA) wants to make a responsible use of information, communications and technology.
The ITA’s ultimate objective through its green initiative is to ensure that the company’s activities reflect environmental responsibility at its best and control the carbon footprints through committed methods.
Tangible metrics for energy-saving and environmental-conservation through strategic alignment of its activities around the ‘Green Initiative’ theme show that the efforts have paid off economically as at the end of the year 2012 and first quarter of 2013.
The printing and paper usage was down from over a 1 million sheets in April 2012 to 208,596 by December 2012, which is about 80 per cent reduction. A print-management solution installed tracked usage and works based on authorised login only thus reducing paper usage by about 30 per cent and about 25 per cent being recycled.
Using technology to deter and measure excessive consumption of consumables and constant reminders of green practices, clear demonstration of commitment towards responsible consumption, the ITA has made its work environment a green habitat.
Sustainable work practices have made the environment eco-friendly since the health and safety practices have ensured the well-being of employees and improved productivity at work. Working closely with the private sector, the ITA leveraged its green practices to give back to the community green awareness. Launched as an internal initiative, the Green Initiative of the ITA quickly spread momentum to the community.
Green habitat from waste water
BAUER Nimr has constructed 360 hectares of wetlands promoting new habitat generation and enhancing biodiversity by converting waste water produced in oil fields BAUER Nimr’s goal was to successfully treat water produced from the Nimr oil fields and utilise it for wetlands to degrade hydrocarbons, resulting in clean industrial grade water and creating a sustainable environment for a new green habitat and biodiversity.
The water treatment has proven successful both in terms of treatment efficiency and in-country value generation through oil recovery and reduced energy costs for PDO. The constructed wetland can be seen as an innovative approach to treat produced water i.e. polish the water through degradation of hydrocarbon content. During construction of the wetland system and alongside operation, BAUER Nimr’s wetland competence centre and environmental research unit made comprehensive studies and analysis to ensure the promotion of a sustainable green habitat. Since stepping into operation, the company registered more than 104 migratory bird species that are new to this valuable habitat. In addition plant, fishes and algae were identified around the site. The team of experts found out that because of the introduction of local plant species, local fish species have been observed in large numbers in the lower levels of the wetland system, balancing the ecosystem; and different types of algae have occurred naturally in the wetland system allowing for breeding/hiding places for aquatic animals and valuable microorganisms.
A veritable green school
Ras Al Hamra International School which is currently being built by PDO has several inbuilt green building features enabling it to conform to the school rating system requirements of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), an international agency
Ras Al Hamra Development Project has incorporated several state-of-the-art green features into its new international school which will be the first school in Oman certified by LEED (leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), an internationally recognised rating system for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings, homes and neighbourhoods. A number of main LEED methods and principles were applied in the design and construction of the school such as intelligent and sustainable design, incorporation of energy efficient methods, minimising water consumption and using treated water, less natural resources and rapidly renewable and recycled materials etc. The learning environment of the school will have high daylight ratio, a higher supply of fresh air and more efficient toilet and recycled water supply systems. Everything about the fabric of the building is about energy efficiency. Environmentally conscious thinking is at the forefront of the redevelopment with the alignment of new buildings taking into account the sun’s trajectory to enable solar-powered streetlight and hot water systems. The new school will also incorporate all sustainable features into current IPC curriculum which also addresses sustainable/ environmental awareness lessons and tools. Sustainable curriculum will be further expanded into detailed curriculum lessons covering all age groups/ grades.
Replenishing marine life
As part of a CSR initiative by The Wave, Muscat, environmentally-friendly reef balls will be dropped to the sea bed in carefully selected areas at Seeb and Bausher to attract marine life
Empower Fishermen Community is a sustainability- driven CSR initiative designed by The Wave, Oman in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MoAF). The initiative is aimed at empowering Muscat’s long-established fishing community, an industry which is an integral part of the city’s heritage, through three major segments: community support, economic support and improving environmental standards and awareness.
The community support segment of the project provides the latest fishing equipment and tools to the community to assist the fishermen in their work. Funding for fishermen will also be allocated to build better facilities, such as shelters for their boats and equipment.
The economic support segment offers business training programmes to the fishing community. These courses will focus on core skills including business planning and finance, aiming to help fishermen work together to establish and grow their businesses.
In the environmental segment ‘reef balls’ – pyramid-shaped structures designed to withstand the force of the ocean but remaining environmentally friendly – will be dropped to the sea bed in carefully selected areas at Seeb and Bausher, where they will attract marine life. Reef balls contribute greatly to rehabilitating coral reefs, replenishing marine life and even protecting the unique ecosystems of mangrove forests which are found in Oman.
Muscat Hills Golf & Country Club is a truly unique golf development, comprising an 18-hole PGA-certified green golf course and a high-quality residential development on the outskirts of Muscat. Built in a distinct corner of Muscat’s rugged hills and etched by canyon-like wadis, the course boasts tremendous views over the Al Hajar Mountains with the Muscat Sea in the distance. Muscat Hills Golf & Country Club compliment the 18-hole golf course with excellent practice facilities including two putting greens, a large chipping green and state-of-the-art driving range in which golfers can practice their golf game from both ends of the driving range. The par-72, 18-hole golf course is the first grass golf course in Oman. The golf course was the cherished dream of HH Kais al Said. Now the project is followed on by his son HH Rawy Al Said who continues the commitment to the project and residential estate.
The project sought to achieve a green golf course over the 45 hectare project, and provide green foliage to Muscat Hills and nature habitat. The project also made effective steps towards reducing water consumption and chemical applications. Muscat Hills has measured the success of the project by monitoring water consumption and chemical usage on a daily basis. The company continues to evolve and look for water conservation measures. The development of the project is expected to continue with the clubhouse development and hotel project.
Green Cover has explored the possibility of eco-friendly stadiums in the Middle East, introducing natural infill materials in artificial grass instead of chemical materials
Green Cover has introduced unique natural infill materials for use in artificial grass instead of employing chemical infill materials at its various stadium projects in Oman and UAE. The natural infill gives eco- friendly natural feeling to the players and makes the stadium look always fresh and tidy. It gives a natural feeling and there will be no smell of rubber in the hot climate. The project is cost-effective as no water or fertliser is required and it is not labour oriented too. In addition, there is no carbon emission because of natural infill. Weekly moistening the infill will be giving the added advantage of lifetime up to 15 to 20 years.
After constant research, the company has found out that the natural infill product became the most favoured infill for the football stadium across the region and the initiative was received well among the sports people. The composition of this product revolutionises the infill method for an artificial turf field. This natural infill can be recycled for agricultural use when the artificial turf comes to the end of its life. As an organic infill of plant origin, it is odourless and microorganism proof. It has characteristics to keep the median temperature of the synthetic turf lower than a rubber infill, very much like a natural grass temperature. The company is looking at doing the same in other places by educating people about carbon emissions and cultivating a green culture.
Bringing canola to Oman
A unique research project originated by the research department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries has found out several ecological advantages of canola cultivation in different regions of the Sultanate
The Directorate General of Agricultural & Livestock Research at the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries implemented an innovative research project to adapt and disseminate a new crop, called Canola in different regions of the Sultanate. Aimed at increasing the biodiversity of food crops by introducing new varieties, enhancing the farmers’ income and increasing the agricultural green areas in Oman, the research has proven that Canola crop can serve a dual purpose in the Sultanate: as a green fodder crop to feed the animals, and as material to produce the Canola Oil which is one of the best edible vegetable oils for human consumption as it contains the lowest level of saturated fat. In addition, the beautiful attractive yellow coloured flowers can be a potential source of the nectar for the honey bees.
As part of the research, several varieties of canola crop were tested in four regions, viz. Alkamil Research Station in Sharqia, Wadi Hibi Research Station in Sohar and Jimah Research Station in Al Dakhiliya region and at Salalah Research Station, Dhofar (Southern Oman). Field experiments were conducted consecutively for three years during winter season. Varieties of canola were laid out with four replications. The crop was grown under sprinkler irrigation. The observations on plant height and seed yield per plot were recorded at harvest and seed samples of each plot were sent to the laboratory for determination of oil content. After the successful experiments, three varieties of Canola crop were recommended for cultivation in different locations in Oman. The seeds of these varieties were multiplied and distributed by extension services to the farmers.
Turning waste into fertile soil
The remediation of drilling wastes by Free-RAD technology implemented by Ray Eco-Logic can convert contaminated waste into fertile soil, by reducing the waste up to below 1 per cent
Ray Eco-Logic has introduced an initiative for remediating drilling wastes by using Free-RAD technology, which can reduce the concentration of total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH) contaminated waste up to below 1 per cent and to convert the contaminated waste into a fertile soil. The process turns contaminated material into fertile soil good for raising crops, and can be replicated in many places where the drilling waste has been accumulating for years causing damage to the environment. The company has measured the success of the programme by sampling and analysing the TPH content along the process and by comparing it to the time needed to achieve the results. Implemented for the first time in the GCC, the project has proved more effective compared to other land farming techniques, and raised the interest of other operators in the GCC and other countries to apply this technique on their sites. The project could also convince the user and the authorities that this technique could be applied to reduce the great environmental liability that these wastes represent.