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Al Zadjali S.,Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs | Al Zadjali S.,University of Surrey | Morse S.,University of Surrey | Chenoweth J.,University of Surrey | Deadman M.,Sultan Qaboos University
Science of the Total Environment | Year: 2015

The level of uptake and use of personal protective equipment (PPE) by farm workers in Oman is low; the conditions under which pesticides are stored are frequently below acceptable international standards. Research was undertaken to explore the drivers working against safe storage of agrochemicals and effective personal protection usage by pesticide application personnel. Results from a survey of over 200 respondents, representing workers in, and owners of, farms either within or outside a local farmer's association (FA), suggest that FA membership raises standards of behaviour both in terms of safe pesticide storage and use of PPE. Age of respondents had no apparent effect on the likelihood of PPE (gloves and masks) use. PPE use was, however, highest among respondents with more advanced educational backgrounds. Positive responses for glove and mask use, when applying pesticides, were higher for owners and workers in FA farms compared to non-FA farms. Lowest reported use of PPE was among workers in non-FA farms. Analysis of responses appears to indicate that behaviour patterns of workers in FA farms mirror that of the farm owners. This was not the case in non-FA farms. The results suggest that conformity to social norms, in this case acceptable work-environment behaviour, is a powerful driver behind raised usage levels of PPE in farms in Oman. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.

Al Zadjali S.,Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs | Al Zadjali S.,University of Surrey | Morse S.,University of Surrey | Chenoweth J.,University of Surrey | Deadman M.,Sultan Qaboos University
Science of the Total Environment | Year: 2013

During the last two decades Oman has experienced rapid economic development but this has been accompanied by environmental problems. Manufacturing and agricultural output have increased substantially but initially this was not balanced with sufficient environmental management. Although agriculture in Oman is not usually considered a major component of the economy, government policy has been directed towards diversification of national income and as a result there has been an increasing emphasis on revenue from agriculture and an enhancement of production via the use of irrigation, machinery and inputs such as pesticides. In recent years this has been tempered with a range of interventions to encourage more sustainable production. Certain pesticides have been prohibited; there has been a promotion of organic agriculture and an emphasis on education and awareness programs for farmers. The last point is of especial relevance given the nature of the farm labour market in Oman and a reliance on expatriate and often untrained labour. The research, through a detailed stratified survey, explores the state of knowledge at farm-level regarding the safe disposal of pesticide waste and what factors could enhance or indeed operate against the spread and implementation of that knowledge. Members of the recently constituted Farmers Association expressed greater environmental awareness than their non-member counterparts in that they identified a more diverse range of potential risks associated with pesticide use and disposed of pesticide waste more in accordance with government policy, albeit government policy with gaps. Workers on farms belonging to Association members were also more likely to adhere to government policy in terms of waste disposal. The Farmers Association appears to be an effective conduit for the diffusion of knowledge about pesticide legislation and general awareness, apparently usurping the state agricultural extension service. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

Al Zadjali S.,Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs | Al Zadjali S.,University of Surrey | Morse S.,University of Surrey | Chenoweth J.,University of Surrey | Deadman M.,Sultan Qaboos University
Science of the Total Environment | Year: 2014

In a study of pesticide use on farms in Oman, over 200 respondents were surveyed from amongst owners of and workers on farms that belonged to a Farmers' Association (FA) and those that did not belong to the FA. A questionnaire was used to gauge attitudes to pesticide use whilst inventories of active ingredients were taken for all farms. The age profiles of the respondents were broadly similar, as was the distribution of nationalities amongst the workers. Workers and owners of FA farms were better educated than respondents from non-member farms. A majority of non-FA farm workers reported that they always used pesticides, fewer FA member farm workers and non-FA farm owners reported this behaviour with FA owners showing the lowest proportion of respondents who always used pesticides. Responses amongst farm owners to questions about frequency of pesticide use suggested that this was unaffected by age or education status, but for farm workers younger or less well educated respondents were more likely to respond by indicating that pesticides were always used. When asked to rate pesticides on a scale of 1 (bad) to 10 (good), high responses were most frequent amongst non-FA farm workers followed by FA member farm workers and non-FA farm owners. On average FA farm owners had the lowest average response, and responses by all groups were unaffected by age or education status. Prohibited pesticide use was higher on non-FA farms (4.9% of all pesticides) than on FA farms (1.3%). Pesticide products observed on FA member farms generally contained newer classes of active ingredients and were most frequently from major manufacturing companies in Europe, North America and Japan. Older, off-patent active ingredient-containing products were frequently observed on non-FA farms, often from so-called 'me-too' producing companies in Asia, the Middle East and North Africa. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

Rees A.F.,University of Exeter | Al Saady S.,Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs | Broderick A.C.,University of Exeter | Coyne M.S.,SEATURTLE.org | And 2 more authors.
Marine Ecology Progress Series | Year: 2010

To aid management and conservation of widely distributed marine vertebrate species, it is necessary to have a knowledge and understanding of their spatial ecology. We tracked 10 adult female loggerhead turtles Caretta caretta from Masirah Island, Sultanate of Oman, which hosts one of the world's largest breeding aggregations. Transmitters were specifically deployed early in the nesting season to enable tracking throughout the internesting and post-nesting habitats. Turtles displayed a dichotomy in behaviour during the internesting period, with 6 remaining close to Masirah Island and the others undertaking circuitous oceanic loops, hundreds of kilometres in length. This behaviour did not appear to be related to body size. Tracking-derived minimum clutch frequency was on average (± SD) 4.8 ±1.2 nests (n = 8 ind.). Post-nesting migrations revealed a propensity towards long-term utilisation of oceanic habitats in the region between Socotra Island (Yemen) and the mainland of Yemen/Oman, with 76 ± 15.4% of time spent in oceanic habitat (n = 8 ind.). The spatial footprint of our tracked turtles was found to be far less than that of a similar number of turtles that were tagged later in the same season (from a separate unpublished study) and from long-distance returns of flipper tags. The spatial and temporal sub-structuring of the population highlights the need for more comprehensive tracking projects, with deployments across the breeding season in multiple years, in order to obtain reliable estimations of high-use foraging habitats of widely dispersed marine vertebrates. Variation in behaviour patterns suggests the need for diverse conservation measures. © Inter-Research 2010.

Booij P.,Masaryk University | Holoubek I.,Masaryk University | Klanova J.,Masaryk University | Kohoutek J.,Masaryk University | And 5 more authors.
Science of the Total Environment | Year: 2016

In Oman, DDT was sprayed indoors during an intensive malaria eradication program between 1976 and 1992. DDT can remain for years after spraying and is associated with potential health risk. This raises the concern for human exposure in areas where DDT was used for indoor spraying. Twelve houses in three regions with a different history of DDT indoor spraying were chosen for a sampling campaign in 2005 to determine p,p'-dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (p,p'-DDT), p,p'-dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (p,p'-DDE) and p,p'-dichlorodiphenyldichloroethane (p,p'-DDD) levels in indoor air, dust, and outdoor soil. Although DDT was only sprayed indoor, p,p'-DDT, p,p'-DDE and p,p'-DDD were also found in outdoor soil. The results indicate that release and exposure continue for years after cessation of spraying. The predicted cancer risk based on concentrations determined in 2005, indicate that there was still a significant cancer risk up to 13 to 16 years after indoor DDT spraying. A novel approach, based on region-specific half-lives, was used to predict concentrations in 2015 and showed that more than 21. years after spraying, cancer risk for exposure to indoor air, dust, and outdoor soil are acceptable in Oman for adults and young children. The model can be used for other locations and countries to predict prospective exposure of contaminants based on indoor experimental measurements and knowledge about the spraying time-schedule to extrapolate region-specific half-lives and predict effects on the human population years after spraying. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.

Al-Awadhi T.,Sultan Qaboos University | Al-Saqri A.,Ministry of Environment and climate Affairs | Amr E.-S.,Arabian Gulf University
34th Asian Conference on Remote Sensing 2013, ACRS 2013 | Year: 2013

In order to cope with the rapid development in the Sultanate of Oman, many companies have invested in sand and gravel mining and quarries which abundantly exist in the mountainous areas, the banks and streams of wadis. In spite of the economic benefit of gravel mining, there are environmental impacts which should be controlled in order to preserve the environment resources and human welfare. The objective of this study is to use GIS and Remote Sensing as spatial decision support to monitor and evaluate environmental impacts of quarries and crushers activities in Al Abiad village, southern Al-Batina Governorate. In this study six quarries and crushers in Al Abiad village were investigated. The assessment includes; specifying the sites, the sand and gravel mining stages, the environmental impacts, land-uses, the distance between the crushers and urban sites. The study indicates that all crushers are active and have their own quarries. However, they do not follow the environmental regulations and standards according to the Sultanate of Oman environmental laws. It is also noticed that there is a lack of coordination between concerned government authorities, especially in relation to the issuing of environmental permits. The study recommends that quarries and crushers should comply with the technical specifications, environmental standards and regulations. The study recommends establishing a full integrated GIS and RS technologies to monitor the quarries and crushers activities and link any future permits for these types of activities to have more geo-informatics support. Copyright© (2013) by the Asian Association on Remote Sensing.

Rees A.F.,University of Exeter | Al-Kiyumi A.,Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs | Broderick A.C.,University of Exeter | Papathanasopoulou N.,Biodiversity East | Godley B.J.,University of Exeter
Marine Ecology Progress Series | Year: 2012

We followed the movements of 9 adult female olive ridley turtles Lepidochelys olivacea after nesting on Masirah Island, Oman, using satellite tracking. Their post-breeding migrations ranged from 85 to 796 km. Three individuals travelled north to foraging grounds in Pakistan, Iran and the United Arab Emirates. The other 6 turtles remained in Omani seas for extended periods (mean ± SD = 171.3 ± 109.4 d; range = 40 to 310 d). These locally resident turtles experienced biannual cooling of sea temperatures due to the effect of the west Arabian Sea upwelling which was not experienced by those that migrated to the north. Indications of disparity in turtle size between foraging locations are identified for the first time in this species. The majority of turtles (8) settled in coastal areas of water depth <100 m. Two locally resident turtles remained in very shallow water (<40 m depth) where they were capable of extended dive durations (>100 min) in water warmer than 21°C, which is a feature unique to olive ridleys amongst sea turtles. They displayed a shift to shorter diving after breeding, indicating increased activity levels. The entire spatial footprint of olive ridley dispersal remained within a putative regional management unit (RMU) for this species in the western Indian Ocean, supporting its delineation. We reveal Oman's key role in conserving this demographic unit, with 6 turtles remaining within its national boundary. Our data add to the growing body of evidence that marine turtles show varied migration behaviours within populations, thus complicating their management. © Inter-Research 2012.

Mendonca V.M.,University of Algarve | Al Saady S.,Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs | Al Kiyumi A.,Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs | Erzini K.,University of Algarve
Zoological Studies | Year: 2010

Green turtles Chelonia mydas nest year round at the Ras Al Hadd Nature Reserve, Oman, with a distinct lower-density nesting season from Oct. to May, and a higher-density nesting season from June to Sept. On these beaches, the main predators of turtle eggs and hatchlings are foxes Vulpes spp., wolves Canis lupus arabs, and wild cats Felis spp. and Caracal caracal schmitzi. During 1999-2001, both the nesting behavior of these turtles and the diets of foxes (the main predator on the beaches) were investigated, and we tested whether female turtles were able to avoid/reduce predation pressure on their eggs and hatchlings on the nesting grounds. Elsewhere in the region and globally, foxes are known to feed on rodents, lizards, birds, and insects, but at Ras Al Hadd, their diet is basically composed of sea turtle eggs and hatchlings (comprising about 95% in volume), with smaller contributions from other marine invertebrates (mostly ghost crabs Ocypode spp. and large gastropods), although they also sporadically ingested birds and lizards. The ability to adapt to a diet of sea turtle eggs and hatchlings, on these beaches, is certainly a factor behind the success of this carnivore community in the arid lands of the Arabian Peninsula. Field experiments indicated that nesting sea turtles recognized both natural predators and humans as threats to their offspring, and this was reflected in modifications to their nesting behavior. In relatively undisturbed areas (by both natural predators and humans), sea turtle nest density was significantly higher, and nests were placed further away from the surf's edge, in contrast to results from relatively disturbed areas, where turtle nests were closer to the surf's edge, thus reducing the distance hatchlings had to travel when they emerge and begin their journey to the sea. Nesting turtles interrupted their nesting cycle if they sensed the presence of people or foxes, returning to the sea without laying a clutch. However, if they had already initiated oviposition when they sensed the presence of people and/or predators, they continued, although they significantly increased efforts to camouflage their nests. Other reasons behind nest site abandonment included sand collapsing events (critical during preparation of the egg chamber) and intraspecific competition for nest sites. These behavioral patterns of sea turtles result from their evolutionary adaptation to nesting on beaches, which surely played a role in their survival, but also highlight the importance of minimizing human disturbance and activities on turtle nesting beaches.

Mendonca V.M.,Expeditions International EI EMC | Mendonca V.M.,University of Algarve | Al Jabri M.M.,Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs | Al Ajmi I.,Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs | And 3 more authors.
Zoological Studies | Year: 2010

Population outbreaks of the starfish Acanthaster planci have been persisting for at least the past 25 yr on coral reefs in the Gulf of Oman, in the northwestern Indian Ocean. A survey conducted in 2001 showed that the A. planci population on the Dimaniyat Is. was as abundant (around 5 individuals (ind.)/transect; equivalent to 100 ind./ha) as that recorded during an outbreak in the early 1980s. Local authorities are controlling starfish populations by culling relatively large adult individuals. These outbreaks cause considerable damage to coral communities, as observed specimens were adult individuals of about 60 cm in total diameter (no juveniles were observed). The situation has persisted for over 2 decades, and has now spread to coral reefs in the Arabian Gulf. Although A. planci population outbreaks were associated in the past with overfishing of starfish predators in coral reef areas, in the present study, we found no connection between this theory and starfish outbreaks, as stomach contents of carnivorous fish specimens likely to prey on this starfish species, caught on coral reefs on the Gulf of Oman, and sold at local fish markets (in Barka, Muscat, and Sur), showed no presence of A. planci in their diets. Therefore, the reason for A. planci population outbreaks could not have been due to overfishing of predator species, but is most likely to have been caused by the frequent input of nutrients, due to frequent upwelling events in the northwestern Indian Ocean, leading to planktonic blooms which thus enhance A. planci recruitment.

Rees A.F.,University of Exeter | Al-Kiyumi A.,Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs | Broderick A.C.,University of Exeter | Papathanasopoulou N.,Biodiversity East | Godley B.J.,University of Exeter
Chelonian Conservation and Biology | Year: 2012

We tracked two adult female green turtles (Chelonia mydas) from their nesting location on Masirah Island, Oman (lat 20.441°N, long 58.843°E) into the Red Sea. Comparing these tracks with published movements of nesting loggerhead (Caretta caretta) and olive ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea) turtles, also tracked from Masirah, revealed remarkably different inter-specific patterns of post-nesting dispersal. High-capacity artisanal fisheries, with undescribed levels of sea turtle bycatch, exist within the region, making introduction of effective conservation measures difficult. © 2012 Chelonian Research Foundation.

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