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 the Royal Court to plant about 6,000 wild tree saplings last November to celebrate the 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.”