MECA to plant 10mn wild tree saplings

Muscat Daily - - FRONT PAGE -

The Min­istry of En­vi­ron­ment and Cli­mate Af­fairs (MECA) in co­op­er­a­tion with Pe­tro­leum De­vel­op­ment Oman (PDO) on Wednesday launched a na­tional ini­tia­tive to plant 10mn wild tree saplings in the next ten years.

It was launched un­der the pa­tron­age of H E Mo­hammed bin Salim bin Said al Tobi, Min­is­ter of En­vi­ron­ment and Cli­mate Af­fairs, as part of the Omani En­vi­ron­ment Day, which is marked on Jan­uary 8 ev­ery year. H E Tobi and Raoul Res­tucci, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of PDO, planted saplings in the min­istry lawns to launch the ini­tia­tive.

The min­istry has said that it will plant 1mn saplings of va­ri­eties like Ghaf, Al Sa­mar, Sidr and oth­ers an­nu­ally and will set up nurs­eries for the said pur­pose. MECA said that it will form work­ing groups to col­lect seeds in co­op­er­a­tion with lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties in or­der to fa­cil­i­tate the plan­ta­tion of 10mn saplings.

Youth to plant 1mn saplings

To in­crease the green cover and plant wild tree saplings, 300

Omani youths from dif­fer­ent parts of the coun­try have come to­gether to raise aware­ness on green­ery in our sur­round­ings.

Speak­ing to Mus­cat Daily, Said al Kay­oumi, a mem­ber of the Omani Sidr As­so­ci­a­tion, said, “The as­so­ci­a­tion started work­ing in 2017. We have 300 mem­bers from var­i­ous wilay­ats of the sul­tanate who have dis­trib­uted 1mn seeds and planted about 30,000 saplings of wild trees in var­i­ous gov­er­norates.” The as­so­ci­a­tion aims to in­crease the green area in Oman, plant wild tree saplings, sup­port af­foresta­tion, pro­tect Omani wild trees and es­tab­lish nurs­eries for grow­ing wild tree saplings.

“We aim to raise aware­ness about us­ing re­cy­cled do­mes­tic wa­ter for use in agri­cul­ture and sup­port voluntary ini­tia­tives in the field of af­foresta­tion. We co­op­er­ate with gov­ern­ment en­ti­ties such as the Min­istry of En­vi­ron­ment and Cli­mate Af­fairs and the Na­tional Field Re­search Cen­tre for En­vi­ron­men­tal Con­ser­va­tion at the Di­wan of Royal Court to plant the saplings.

“We col­lab­o­rated with the Di­wan of Royal Court to plant about 6,000 wild tree saplings last Novem­ber to cel­e­brate Tree Day.

“We have set up a seed bank of many types of wild trees such as Sidr, Al Sa­mar, Shu’a et al. We have branches of the as­so­ci­a­tion through­out Oman to take the ini­tia­tive for­ward.”

Talk­ing about the chal­lenges, he said, “Lack of wa­ter and over­graz­ing are the big­gest hin­drance to our work. We have over­come this with the de­ter­mi­na­tion and co­op­er­a­tion of the peo­ple and some in­sti­tu­tions in the pri­vate sec­tor.”

About fu­ture plans, Kay­oumi said, “We are tar­get­ing school and univer­sity stu­dents to hold work­shops on plant­ing wild tree saplings and in­crease aware­ness about af­foresta­tion pro­grammes. We en­cour­age set­ting up of nurs­eries to grow Omani wild tree saplings. I urge Omani youth to join us and par­tic­i­pate in green Oman ini­tia­tives.”

The Min­istry of En­vi­ron­ment and Cli­mate Af­fairs (MECA) re­cently or­gan­ised a poll in which over 2,300 peo­ple voted for the most suit­able wild tree to in­crease green cover in the sul­tanate.

The ques­tion was ‘What kind of trees are suit­able for cul­ti­va­tion?’

While 42 per cent voted for Sidr tree, 40 per cent voted for Ghaf tree, 13 per cent for Al Sa­mar tree and five per cent for other trees.

Speak­ing to Mus­cat Daily, an of­fi­cial in the Min­istry of En­vi­ron­ment and Cli­mate Af­fairs, said, “The poll was aimed to gather peo­ple’s opin­ions to de­velop the Ash­jar ini­tia­tive which was launched in March 2016.

“The ini­tia­tive aims to raise aware­ness among mem­bers of the com­mu­nity to pre­serve wild plants, ex­pand co­op­er­a­tion be­tween gov­ern­ment in­sti­tu­tions and the pri­vate sec­tor in plant­ing of saplings. We have dis­trib­uted around 50,000 wild tree saplings to in­di­vid­u­als and in­sti­tu­tions so far.”

The min­istry pro­vides wild tree saplings for free to any­one in­ter­ested.

Some of the saplings dis­trib­uted in­clude Ghaf, Sidr and Al Sa­mar.

The saplings are dis­trib­uted in sev­eral ar­eas such as nurs­eries in Al Saleel Na­ture Re­serve in the wilayat of Al Kamil W’Al Wafi, Barka and at Cen­tre of Wild Plants in Salalah.

“The min­istry has given some gen­eral guide­lines to help peo­ple grow wild saplings. They should be planted in suit­able ar­eas and pro­vided proper care. They should be wa­tered at least three times a week.”

Any in­di­vid­ual or in­sti­tu­tion can ben­e­fit from the ini­tia­tive by ap­ply­ing for saplings elec­tron­i­cally via bit.ly/2NDb6Lh or con­tact­ing 24951392. Re­quests can also be sent to ash­jaro­[email protected]

(Sup­plied pho­tos)

As many as 300 Omani youths have come to­gether to plant a va­ri­ety of wild tree saplings

H E Tobi wa­ters a sapling at the lawns of the min­istry

(Sup­plied photo)

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