On 5th June, World Environment Day, Sohar Battery Collection and Sohar University are organizing an awareness workshop on waste management for schools in and around the city. Teachers from 20 schools along with representatives from the Ministry of Education will participate.

The workshop aims to spread awareness about good practices in municipal solid waste management with an emphasis on what students and teachers can do at a household and school level. A team of experts from Sohar University, Sohar Environmental Unit, Jusoor and Environment Society of Oman will address the participants. Sohar Battery Collection will introduce their project in all 20 schools and students will be encouraged to collect as many dead batteries as they can, during the summer vacations. These batteries will then be safely stored in a hazardous waste storage site, until they can be recycled.

Waste management is a growing national challenge. In 2013 municipal solid waste generation in Oman was 1.7 million tonnes (OESHC, 2014). This does not include healthcare waste, end of life tyres, end of life vehicles, construction and demolition waste, waste from electrical and electronic equipment and industrial waste. All waste is currently being landfilled or dumped in over 300 sites across the country. Very few recycling initiatives are operational on a small scale by private unrecognized players. Of great concern is the dumping of household hazardous waste, batteries being one of them.

Batteries contain toxic elements like lead, mercury, cadmium and others. When dumped in open landfills, the toxic substances leach into the soil and groundwater and affect the environment and all biodiversity that depend on that soil and water. These toxins can bio-magnify up the food chain and bio-accumulate in living things to cause severe health problems to humans over time.

Sohar Battery Collection is a volunteer driven initiative that creates awareness on the need to segregate batteries from household garbage and collects batteries from different locations in Sohar for storage in a hazardous waste storage facility. The project recognizes teachers and youth as being very effective levers of change and is being supported in all its sensitization programs by a group of enthusiastic volunteers from Sohar University and staff from Jusoor. Employees of Sohar Aluminium and Jusoor have also committed to volunteering for future public awareness events and activities.

This project is sponsored by Oil Tanking Odfjell, Sohar Aluminum, Jusoor and Sohar Port and Freezone. Sohar University and Sohar Municipality support the project in many ways. Fun City has sponsored prizes for students who collect maximum quantities of batteries from every school.