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Omani trio gear up for Antarctica expedition

Environment Ministry employee on team driven by concern for fragile ecosystem

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Gulf News

Muscat: An employee of Oman’s Environment Ministry who has travelled to 40 countries, from the jungles of Amazon to the Swiss Alps, is all set to join two of his countrymen for the two-week International Antarctic Expedition from February 28.

Yahya Al Salmani, director of awareness and information at the Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs, has been chosen for the expedition along with Amir Abdul Hussain and Badr Al Lawati.

“There is no doubt that this 15-day expedition will definitely help me to explore part of the Antarctic, [I am] hoping to discover it and visit sites that may not have been explored by some of my predecessors who previously visited that part of the world,” Al Salmani told Gulf News.

He said that the objective of the expedition, like many previous expeditions, is to develop an understanding of the unique ecosystem. “At the same time,” he added, “we can send a message across about the need to protect it for the future generations to come.”

“I intend to share my expedition experience with the people of Oman in order to make them understand the need to protect this fragile ecosystem and its unique landscape with its wildlife,” he said.

Al Salmani promised to get across the message about the need to protect the “Antarctic from all sorts of damage that may be caused by human activity” and “inspire the next generation of leaders to take responsibility, be sustainable and know that it is high time for action in policy development for sustainable business generation through the promotion of recycling, renewable energy and sustainability”.

Al Salmani, who has been working at the Environment Ministry for the last two decades, said that the expedition endeavoured to create ambassadors for education, the environment and sustainability across the globe. “To protect Antarctica and the rest of our planet, we must inspire leaders to return home and create change at a personal level, the community level, the corporate level and beyond,” he said.

Al Salmani has been to around 40 countries. A trip to Machu Picchu, “cradle of the Incas people in the republic of Peru”, last year is fresh in his mind. He recalls spending a few days with the native people who live a primitive life in the Amazon forests. “I have also been lucky to visit Alpine peaks covered with snow in France, Switzerland, and Italy.” The sub-zero temperatures of Antarctica beckon next.

Al Salmani has called for private sector support for the expedition given its noble objectives.