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Strict penalties for unauthorised soil and sand transportation in Oman

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Muscat: Transporting soil and sand from watercourses, wadis, and beaches without obtaining the required permit from the Environment Authority constitutes a significant breach of environmental regulations, particularly as outlined in Article 21 of the Environmental Protection and Pollution Control Law.

This regulation underscores the crucial importance of preserving natural habitats, preventing ecological degradation, and maintaining the delicate balance of these ecosystems.

The inclusion of such a provision in the law reflects the government's commitment to sustainable environmental practices and the recognition of the potential harm that unrestricted soil and sand removal can cause.

Watercourses, wadis, and beaches serve as essential components of the environment, contributing to the overall health of ecosystems, biodiversity, and natural processes. Indiscriminate extraction of soil and sand from these areas can lead to severe consequences such as erosion, habitat loss, disruption of aquatic life, and alteration of coastal dynamics.

The penalties associated with violating Article 21 are intentionally designed to be substantial and proportional to the offence. The potential consequences of unauthorised soil and sand transportation are far-reaching, affecting not only the immediate environment but also the long-term stability of these ecosystems.

By imposing a minimum imprisonment of 10 days and a maximum of three months, the law emphasises the gravity of the offence and aims to deter individuals and entities from engaging in such activities.

Furthermore, the financial penalties outlined in the regulation play a dual role. They act as a punitive measure while also serving as a deterrent against non-compliance. The specified fine range, starting at a minimum of 500 Omani Rials and not exceeding 5,000 Omani Rials, acknowledges the varying degrees of violation and allows for the imposition of fines commensurate with the severity of the offence.

Majid al Jabri, an individual passionate about environmental matters, expressed, "There is a need for supervisors to oversee these infringements, ongoing patrols to monitor them, and the regulatory body has the added responsibility of educating the community to foster a culture of reporting any environmental violations. Collective cooperation is essential across all fronts."

The situation is such that we frequently witness individuals moving soil during regular hours and in broad daylight. However, the question remains: Are we truly capable of reporting such instances?

It's a common assumption that these individuals possess the necessary permits, but in reality, many of them do not. To address this, it would be beneficial if the relevant authorities established a dedicated hotline specifically for reporting these occurrences.

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