SOHAR Port and Freezone in cooperation with SOHAR tenants signed a contract with the Omani company, Nakheel Environmental and Industrial Solutions, recently to install, operate, and maintain an Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Network (AQMN) within SOHAR area as part of implementing Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs (MECA) intention to enhance the environmental monitoring in SOHAR area. Mark Geilenkirchen, the CEO of SOHAR Port, signed the agreement on behalf of SOHAR while Nakheel was represented by its GM, Ali Al Hussaini. Installation of the AQMN will start immediately and the system is expected to be operational by quarter four of 2018.
Mark Geilenkirchen said, “Good environmental management is an essential element to sustain the development at SOHAR, therefore the monitoring of the environmental impact on the surrounding area is very important. In addition, the establishment of AQMN is the actual beginning of the integrated environmental monitoring, which will contribute to protect the environment within and around SOHAR. We are proud to have an Omani company that is equipped with the required skills, technology, and expertise to provide us with such a solution.”
The AQMN project will consist of a combination of fixed and mobile stations positioned at critical locations surrounding the Port and Freezone. The location selected carefully using the result from air dispersion modelling by Lakes Environmental Software “AERMOD” which was conducted in coordination with MECA and SOHAR relevant tenants. The AQMN will measure, in real time, the ambient air quality surrounding SOHAR. The AQMN is one of the key projects that will help to ensure that the development of the Port and Freezone is sustainable and complying with the national and international environmental standards.
The AQMN is part of a long term strategic program that commenced in
2017 and executed by the SOHAR Port and Freezone, in close cooperation with MECA,. which aims to continuously enhance the environmental management in the area. This program focusses on environmental permitting, compliance of all Port and Freezone operations with Best International Practices and continuous monitoring of the impact of the operations on the environment including water, soil, and air.
Ahmed Bin Zaher Al Hinai, Director General of Environmental Affairs at MECA, said, “The Ministry is working in line with the requirements of each stage of the development and continues in its efforts aimed to improve and develop the environmental management in coordination with its partners in various fields. The AQMN project is to strengthen the environmental monitoring system in SOHAR, as it will provide an integrated data on ambient air quality which is directly connected to MECA monitoring system and will replace largely the ambient air monitoring stations installed by individual tenants, which are often installed within the premises of the tenants.
He also mentioned that MECA is continuing to disseminate and develop this model in coordination with other industrial areas within OMAN to achieve the principle of partnership in environmental monitoring with the private sectors. Finally, he appreciated the cooperation of SOHAR as well as SOHAR tenants to make this model a success”.
“The development of the AQMN is great news for the local community surrounding SOHAR area, as it represents the continuation of the efforts being made by SOHAR in cooperation with MECA and SOHAR tenants to enhance the environmental monitoring in the area. Nakheel will work on installing fixed and mobile stations for monitoring of ambient air quality, using state-ofthe-art technologies that are in line with United States Environmental Protection Agency standards,” said Ali Al Hussaini.