Muscat: Batteries contain toxic chemicals like lead, cadmium and mercury. If thrown with garbage that ends up in an open landfill, they can contaminate soil and water and affect our health.
Sohar Battery Collection, a volunteer-run project, has been dedicatedly working towards creating awareness on segregation of batteries from household waste and safe disposal. Over the past two years they have collected over 800kg of batteries, which are stored safely in a hazardous waste storage site, says a press release.
Sohar Battery Collection is conducting a mega fun filled awareness event on August 28, 29 and 30 at Safeer Mall, Sohar. The mall will be abuzz with games, activities and experiments all related to better management of batteries.
'The spirit of volunteerism that we have been seeing is just remarkable. Three hundred people have each committed to spending four hours this weekend helping us spread awareness. This includes personnel from Sohar Aluminium, Sohar University, Indian School and government schools," says Rashmi Gopal, project coordinator.
"Not only are people volunteering their precious time, many companies are coming forward to assist us in our endeavour. Gulf Acrylic and Shamal Plastics have manufactured collection bins for us free of cost and in record time; Fun City and Safeer Mall are offering prizes to motivate higher collection of batteries; Body Shop, Rasasi, Carrefour and Switz Modern Oman Bakery are sponsoring gifts and snacks during the event. Such active participation is very encouraging," she added.
Sohar Aluminium, Oil Tanking Odfjell, Jusoor, and Sohar Port and Freezone are key sponsors for the project. Safeer Mall has shown immense support by offering their location in order to reach maximum number of people and by sponsoring many organisational requisites for a campaign of this size.
The people of Sohar care about the local environment, which reflects in the significant number of volunteers. A team of students from Sohar University actively participate in the used battery collection drive and hope that the Sultanate will emulate other countries that have banned disposal of used batteries with household waste.
"North Batinah is beautiful, full of greenery and water. Farming and fishing are important activities here and we need to protect our natural resources. Such awareness programs help us understand the value of our environment better," says Mohammed Sultan Al-Shibli of Sohar Municipality, who has been a key supporter of this project.
Sanchita Verma, principal of Indian School Sohar, urges her students to actively participate in eco-initiatives. She is a strong advocate of involving young impressionable children in environmental action projects and students as young as 10 years of age are volunteering for this event. Residents of Sohar are encouraged to visit Safeer Mall this weekend, participate in the fun and games and learn about battery segregation. Every month five people who deposit the maximum weight of batteries in Sohar Battery Collection bins will win Safeer Mall shopping vouchers.