It’s time for a clean-up act

The evenings are beautiful at Shatti Street of Qurum, a popular spot with the youth and families, but come morning and along with the sunrise and dew drops are the sore sight of trash left behind of eating out on the previous night.
Cleaners from the Muscat Municipality arrive to pick it up, but the question is should be someone employed to pick after others?
The ministerial decision No 55/2017 was issued to determine penalties from violating Muscat Municipality orders. Throwing litter on streets, wadis or near fenced walls could result in penalties, including a fine up of up to RO 1,000.
The law says the penalties will be doubled if the offence is repeated.
In a strong message to the commercial establishments, the authority had said the waste should be disposed only at designated places.
In January, the Public Prosecution announced through a tweet that throwing cash out of a moving vehicle is a crime punishable by law.
But what about leaving the trash behind in public places? The question some environmentalists are raising is should we have a Green Police?
Asked about the trash left behind on the Shatti beach, one of the most scenic beaches in Muscat, beach-goers said maybe it was because there are no trash bins on the sea front road. There are bins but they are on beach, pointed out the others.
Cleanup Oman campaign was one such initiative that spread awareness by cleaning up various sites across the country.
Wildlife Filmmaker and Cleanup Oman Founder Nasser al Kindi told the Observer, “When Cleanup Oman was established in 2011, our first cleanup campaign was at Shatti Al Qurum. Back then, our prime concern was to highlight littering as a challenge we, as a country, need to tackle.”
According to him, at the time very few people acknowledged there was an increasing littering problem. Today, however, there is an established fact that there is a problem and a feeling that it needs to be tackled.
“I am often told the littering problem is due to the lack of bins. This is often a pretext. Instead of blaming the municipality, we need to enlighten the cause of the problem. I know of very few countries where the municipal services are as good as Oman’s. The beaches in central Muscat are cleaned three times a day, every day,” noted Al Kindy.
“We have passed the awareness phase, we now need tougher measures and fines for offenders implemented by Green Police. Without an updated legal framework concerning this matter, littering will continue to be an issue,” concluded Al Kindy.

Lakshmi Kothaneth