Sohar Battery Collection has been raising awareness on the impact of hazardous waste with a focus on segregation of batteries at the household level. In the past one and a half years, they have held workshops and seminars for corporates, schoolchildren, teachers, sports clubs and university students. Sohar Aluminium, Oil Tanking Odfjell, Jusoor, and Sohar Port and Freezone are key sponsors for the project.
When Vijay Manwani, COO, Safeer Mall Sohar, who is a strong believer in the importance of public environmental awareness offered the mall as a location for a campaign, the team pondered over how they could grab the attention of the shoppers. Games and activities were a common choice, but what games could be played on reinforcing the message of battery segregation?
Students of Sohar University worked to design attractive and colourful large size snakes and ladders – with a twist! Players had to answer questions related to household hazardous waste to be able to climb a ladder or save them from the snakes.
Children were told about segregating batteries at home and putting them in Sohar Battery Collection bins.
Battery tower building was another sought after game. Children were allowed to make towers of dead batteries, but only after wearing safety gloves. Families were told about the harmful chemicals in batteries and how its disposal with household trash can cause soil and water contamination.
A collage-making activity was also held for the younger children. While the children were busy cutting, colouring and sticking images of devices with batteries, their parents were informed about prizes they could get if they deposited dead batteries in Sohar Battery Collection bins and older children were shown how potatoes, lemons and other fruits were also storehouses of energy, just like batteries but they were safer.
Manwani also suggested a flash mob. The highlight of the awareness campaign was when the students from Indian School Sohar entered in bright orange Sohar Battery Collection caps and held placards with crisp messages on better disposal of batteries in English, Arabic and Hindi.
“The Omani public needs to become more aware of environmental issues and public outreach is important,” said Mohammed Emad, a student volunteer of Sohar Battery Collection. Othman al Balushi, whose children participated in some of the games and activities said that they have dead batteries at home and was happy that a collection programme for them has been initiated in Sohar. He stressed on the importance of making the younger generation more aware and said that he would involve his children in battery segregation at his home
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