When children play outside their houses, they find construction wastes dumped carelessly on the streets by contractors. This, the residents say, poses great risk to neighbourhood safety.
These scenes are currently seen while driving around the residential areas like in some parts of Wilayat of Seeb. Speaking to some of the residents in Sur Al Hadid, located north of Mabela, they were of the view that an increase in houses being built was a sign that the community is growing.
But with that comes the worst scenario of wastes being dumped in the areas by those who do not respect the municipality guidelines.
Muscat Municipality have initiated several measures to make the city cleaner and beautiful. They have done this by cleaning the roads, putting waste bins around residential areas, beach roads, creating pavements and walkways.
All these efforts were done to make ways towards a cleaner living, but the efforts go in vain due to neglect from the construction works and sometimes even from some of the homeowners.
These wastes can be seen near waste bins put up by Be’ah, low laying areas such as wadis and other spots hidden from plain sight.
Homeowners or construction companies are not willing to pay RO 100 which is the cost of transporting the wastes to the designated dumping zones. Many of these wastes are from the final stages of construction sites and paying the extra cost seems not worth the money.
So therefore, they have found ways to dump wastes on the road sides away from the location of the constructed house.
This is being repeated despite several campaigns from the Muscat Municipality and warnings of fines of up to RO 1,000 and even inspection from Municipality officials. Despite, this dumping wastes continues and goes on unnoticed in different parts of Muscat. The once clean and safe zone, has now become a scene for hazardous living. The evening activities of walking or jogging is no longer a pleasant one and sometimes dangerous especially at night.
The biggest fear is of the children, who gather outside their homes and play during the evening hours.
The opportunity of using the waste as toys when playing with their friends. Which has made a lot of parents not allowing their children from playing outside the house in fear of getting expose to those dangerous materials and getting hurt.
The scene now in many of the neighbourhoods during the evenings are almost boring as there is less activity of jogging and playing for children.
It goes to say, that while choosing a house you have to choose the right location which must be a safe place to raise your children.
Now residents are looking towards the local officials and Muscat Municipality to take further action in the matter to find a solution which could enforce dumping in the designated area.
A solution for this could lay in doubling the efforts in terms of inspection during construction phases and also during the final stages of the construction. Hiking the fines to RO 2,000 could also go a long way to help reduce illegal dumping.
But the efforts should be collectively done by new homeowners as much as the construction companies. This will help create a safer environment which should be the responsibility of one and all.
The writer is a banker by day and a storyteller by night