Amazing tourist destinations in the Sultanate are being ruined by trash much to the chagrin of the people and nature lovers.
Some of them are seeking the setting up of special green police and hefty penalties to tamp down littering especially in the Governorate of Dhofar, which is witnessing an unprecedented turnout of tourists during the Khareef season as well as in other governorates which had rains recently.
Abdullah al Awaid said one should carry garbage bags when going on a trip so that one can collect trash and dispose of it in designated areas instead of abandoning to the elements.
Bader al Kathiri, a resident of the Wilayat of Salalah, said, “We are tired of seeing visitors leaving rubbish in beautiful places.”
Abdullah al Adawi said, “We need environmental police as the issue cannot be resolved just by rules or advice anymore.”
Abu Ali al Mahrooqi said, “Despite the police’s best efforts to control traffic violations, there are still many who break rules. So, the environmental police will not solve the issue of littering unless people respect the environment and nature”.
Um al Qasim, a nature lover, lamented, “Waste brings in its wake a plethora of diseases, rodents and germs. It also pollutes many unique destinations and threatens fragile ecosystems."
Ahmed bin Abdullah al Shanfari, a lawyer, said education and awareness have proven to be unsuccessful in tackling dumping. Litter bugs should be slapped with RO 100, which can be used to protect the environment, he said. Authorities should use drones to check the menace.
“Most of the countries impose fines, and some of them even refer cases to the courts. It is better to collect garbage in bags and deposit it in the nearest bin instead of tossing it out elsewhere,” Al Shanfari said.
The Environment Authority said the protection of the environment is a shared responsibility. “There will be criminal penalties against anyone who violates and encroaches on the environment. Be an important part in preserving the environment and wildlife to avoid legal accountability."
According to the Public Prosecution, dumping waste in places other than the designated areas is a crime that carries a penalty of up to 10 days in prison or a fine of RO 300.