Warehouses and workshops in residential neighbourhoods is a health hazard to the people, and their construction is in violation of the civic law.
“These facilities, in addition to being illegal, are a potential threat to the health of people in the area," said Amal al Saltiyah, researcher at the community partnership unit in Muscat Municipality,
According to Article 11 of the Muscat Municipality order 23/92 on the organisation of buildings, it is not permissible to establish workshops, factories and crushers in residential areas as these activities could pose a serious risk to public health and cause nuisance to nearby inhabitants.
The properties must be used for the purpose for which they have been registered under the building permit, stipulates the law.
“Warehouses in the middle of residential neighbourhoods harm residents. As their construction is illegal, they do not have proper safety measures. They are prone to fire as there are no regular safety checks by the civil defence officials due to lack of proper registration," Amal said.
In addition, they also host rodents and insects which can create health problems. Owners of such warehouses tend to bring in heavy trucks to transport their goods, which hinders traffic within the neighbourhoods, she said.
These truck are very noisy, and they pollute by emitting small toxic particles, and could damage the lives in the residential areas.
According to a statement posted on its website, the municipality said that the civic authorities in cooperation with other ministries and authorities have launched a campaign targeting workshops and warehouses in different residential areas in the capital.
The inspection campaigns come as part of the municipality’s efforts to regulate commercial activities and to ensure compliance with laws and regulations governing commercial activities in a bid to uncover and crack down on violations.
“Thanks to the efforts of field follow-up teams and urban inspection, the number of complaints received in the first five months in the current year has seen a significant drop," the statement said.
While urging all merchants to comply with applicable laws and regulations governing commercial activities, the municipality stressed that it will not tolerate any violations of obligations stipulated in the law and will intensify its inspection campaigns to crack down on such practices.