PRE­SERVE YOUR EN­VI­RON­MENT

Global tem­per­a­tures have gone up since 1880, Arc­tic ice is de­creas­ing, and sea levels are ris­ing. Th­ese facts raise se­ri­ous con­cerns. The En­vi­ron­ment So­ci­ety of Oman (ESO) is ed­u­cat­ing and gen­er­at­ing aware­ness on en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues.

HI Weekly - - FRONT PAGE - STORY SHRUTHI NAIR —shruthi@time­so­fo­man.com

The En­vi­ron­ment So­ci­ety of Oman is mak­ing great ef­forts in ed­u­cat­ing and gen­er­at­ing aware­ness on en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues.

Ihaven’t been to too many coun­tries so far, but the two coun­tries I’ve lived in has been ex­tremes in so many ways. One country, In­dia, homes a pop­u­la­tion of 1.3 bil­lion and the other, Oman, has a hum­ble 4 mil­lion peo­ple liv­ing in it. The avail­abil­ity of nat­u­ral re­sources and its us­age is also vastly dif­fer­ent in both th­ese coun­tries and hence peo­ple’s ap­proach to­wards them and their needs are equally var­ied too.

Born in Oman, I was used to a peace­ful life­style where over­crowd­ing and traf­fic jams is some­thing I only ex­pe­ri­enced oc­ca­sion­ally. So nat­u­rally, when I went to Mum­bai, it took me a while to adapt to the per­pet­u­ally crowded, noisy, un­or­gan­ised chaos that I even­tu­ally ended up fall­ing in love with.

How­ever, it was af­ter the con­ver­sa­tion I had with Yusra Jaf­fer from the En­vi­ron­ment So­ci­ety of Oman (ESO) that I went back home and started think­ing about all the places I’ve been in the past and tried to un­der­stand how I have harmed the en­vi­ron­ment. Yusra said that we need to treat the en­vi­ron­ment as our home. “We need to look at our en­vi­ron­ment as our home and the dif­fer­ent species as mem­bers of our fam­ily,” she added.

Some­thing so sim­ple that can eas­ily be fol­lowed and be the so­lu­tion of many en­vi­ron­ment-re­lated prob­lems.

Just think about – we don’t lit­ter our homes, we try to keep it clean at all times, we don’t waste elec­tric­ity or any other re­sources be­cause we know we will have to pay a price for and we don’t go around caus­ing any harm on pur­pose to our fam­ily mem­bers in­stead try to keep them safe. If all this were ap­plied out of our homes wouldn’t the world be a bet­ter place to live in?

That is the same ap­proach that the ESO has adopted since its in­cep­tion in 2004. Prior to this there wasn’t much dis­cus­sion about the en­vi­ron­ment is­sues in Oman. The ESO be­ing an NGO acted as a bridge between the govern­ment and other independent pri­vate sec­tor bod­ies who wanted to in­clude the en­vi­ron­ment in their CSR ini­tia­tives. The main aim of the ESO is to ed­u­cate the pub­lic and raise aware­ness and find ways in which peo­ple can ac­tively be in­volved in its con­ser­va­tion.

In the last 13 years, the ESO has been quite suc­cess­ful in spread­ing the cul­ture of con­ser­va­tion among the peo­ple in Oman and have made sure that peo­ple re­main ac­tively in­volved in a num­ber of ac­tiv­i­ties and projects un­der­taken by them. And when peo­ple vol­un­teer with no vested in­ter­ests with the sole ob­jec­tive of pro­tect­ing mother earth, that’s when you know that they have started treat­ing the planet as their home.

Some of the im­por­tant projects of the ESO that have helped achieve this in­clude:

EGYP­TIAN VUL­TURES

Ap­par­ently Egyp­tian Vul­tures thrive in Oman. And the ESO found this out af­ter months of in­tense re­search and stud­ies. About 65 to 80 ter­ri­to­rial pairs were found apart from 350 other in­di­vid­ual Egyp­tian vul­tures in Masirah is­land af­ter which the ESO started an in­tense pro­gramme to study the species in a broader ge­o­graph­i­cal con­text. Con­di­tions suit­able for them to feed and breed were made by the ef­forts of the ESO as Oman was recog­nised as an im­por­tant habi­tat for this bird species.

WHALE AND DOL­PHIN PROJECT

Oman’s rich and mys­te­ri­ous un­der­wa­ter world is home to a large num­ber of ma­rine species. A num­ber of is­sues were raised by the ESO in terms of the pro­tec­tion of ma­rine life in­clud­ing hav­ing set guide­lines for dol­phin and whale watch­ing, pro­tec­tions of the en­dan­gered Ara­bian hump­back whales, and over­all im­prove­ment in the con­ser­va­tion of ce­taceans in Oman. The ESO have been able to tag 6 hump­back whales to help study the whales bet­ter.

TUR­TLE CON­SER­VA­TION

Oman is one of the most ideal lo­ca­tions for tur­tles as 5 of the 7 species of tur­tles are found in Oman. An ini­tial re­view in 2013 re­vealed that there was a de­cline in log­ger­head tur­tles nest­ing on Masirah is­land. The team found a num­ber of prob­lems rang­ing from coastal devel­op­ment, beach driv­ing, and en­tan­gle­ment in fish­ing nets. Since en­tan­gle­ment in fish­ing nets was seen as one of the big­gest con­cerns, a num­ber of ini­tia­tives to raise aware­ness and cau­tion fish­er­men were also un­der­taken.The ESO has The ESO has a spe­cial team that spe­cialises in tur­tle re­search and con­ser­va­tion and have been ac­tively in­volved in spread­ing aware­ness about the im­por­tance of ma­rine tur­tles.

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