Last week, students from ABA School learnt about the environmental importance of mangroves when, at the start of their Discovery Week, together with staff from Outward Bound Oman (OBO), they helped clear the nature reserve of litter and invasive species of plants that threaten this precious ecosystem.
“The non-native Sesuvium plant unfortunately loves the same conditions as mangroves and is taking over. Hopefully, by helping remove as much of this destructive plant as we could, we have given the mangrove some breathing space,” said OBO instructor Anisa al Raisi.
Mangrove is unique in that it absorbs harmful emissions from the atmosphere and carefully stores them in its soil.
Coastal protection is another benefit to have been recognised by Oman’s Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs (MECA), along with other countries around the Indian Ocean, whose mangrove-depleted coastlines suffered greatly from December 2004’s fateful Tsunami.
Governments around the wider region, including Oman, are keen on harnessing the beneficial properties of mangroves; so, in recent years, they have been implementing various protection and regeneration projects and trying to raise awareness through education programmes. The person spear-heading this at MECA is Wetland specialist Bader al Balushi.
Bader’s small but committed team has been educating Outward Bound Oman’s instructors on the importance of mangroves. Through its courses, OBO reaches at least 2,000 students a year. A key part of course discussions involves highlighting key environmental issues facing Oman.
Mark Evans, general manager OBO, said, “Just as OBO strives to support His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said’s vision to empower and upskill young Omanis to embrace the challenges of the future, we are delighted to do what we can to support the vital work undertaken by MECA in Qurm and elsewhere.”