World Ocean Day: Underwater clean-up at Dimaniyat Islands Nature Reserve

Oman Saturday 08/June/2024 17:55 PM
By: Times News Service
World Ocean Day: Underwater clean-up at Dimaniyat Islands Nature Reserve

Over 29 divers from Oman Sail, along with volunteers from Omantel, have completed an underwater reef clean-up project at the Dimaniyat Islands Nature Reserve to celebrate World Ocean Day. The initiative was supported by Omantel, who partnered with Oman Sail and in collaboration with the Environment Authority to promote environmental sustainability and raise further awareness for action to preserve the oceans and minimise negative human impact on the marine environment.

Omani champion diver Omar Al Ghailani, former world’s deepest free dive record holder, joined the initiative, lending his considerable experience to reach discarded items lurking out of sight.
Held annually on 8 June, the action theme for this year’s World Ocean Day is ‘Catalysing Action for Our Ocean & Climate’, and the team of divers also cleaned the surface of the water to protect the many species of marine and bird life calling the nature reserve home.

Unfortunately, damage to the coral reefs due to discarded and lost fishing gear have disturbed the patterns of many species and threaten the health of the sea life. Many fish, turtles and birds ingest plastic left in the oceans or get caught in washed-up fishing nets.

Saba Said Al Busaidi, Corporate Affairs Senior Manager at Omantel, said, “At Omantel, it is vitally important to raise awareness of the need to protect our marine environment; the oceans provide us with connectivity to more than 120 cities around the world through our submarine cables. Oman is blessed with such diversity that we must maintain it and help it thrive. Supporting this initiative is a great honour, and we hope it will inspire visitors to the reefs to be more mindful about their impact on the country and communities that rely on the islands.”

Khamis Al Anbouri, Oman Sail’s Acting Commercial Director, added, “Oman Sail and indeed SeaOman are uniquely placed to witness first-hand the disruption to the Dimaniyat Island reefs, and it is our duty to lend our expertise to restore a beautiful area of national importance. We are passionate supporters of our oceans and encourage everyone nationwide to do all they can to keep our coastlines clean for World Ocean Day and every day.”

Oman’s coastline spans approximately 3,165 kilometres (1,967 miles), more than double the distance between Muscat and Salalah. This makes the nation’s marine wildlife especially vulnerable to climate change. Rises in sea levels, increased water temperatures, and disruptions to food chains can have disastrous effects on global marine life.