Salalah: People in groups engaged in some agriculture activity make every passerby curious about their engagement until they know that they are part of a drive to weed out a poisonous plant.
This is a drive launched by the citizens to weed out the highly invasive and poisonous plant parthenium which has occupied most of the unorganised plain areas and mountains. The influence of the medium height parthenium plant is more prominent in places that are not regularly monitored.
The plant is so invasive that it almost crushes other nearby plants and spreads very fast. The community is facing another problem of parthenium being consumed by the camels, goats, and cows without knowing the harmful impact of the plant.
Later the animals develop some health issues for which the villagers have to remain cautious that their cattle do not approach the areas, which are covered with parthenium.
The commitment of the community got due recognition from the authorities and they are being assisted by the civic bodies, environment and agriculture authorities.
An official of Dhofar Municipality admitted having full support to all those who are involved in the drive, while the Environment Authority has been serious in tackling the issue.
Dr Abdullah bin Ali bin Abdullah al Amri, Chairman of Environment Authority, said the issue was under serious consideration and plans were being drawn to tackle it on a priority basis.
A group of people was seen removing the plants near Jabal Samhan Mountain. The group comprised of people from all age groups. The eldest in the group was around 80-year-old, while the youngest was 8-year-old. In between are committed youths with a serious objective to weed the poisonous plant out.
The group was working under the guidance of the eldest member who was seen telling others about the dangers the plant was posing.
Convinced with the problem, Salim, a grade 10 student of Salalah International School, chipped in to support the cause. Not at all perturbed over the invasiveness of the plant, Salim said, “It may take one year, two years but we have to get rid of this poisonous plant. It is dangerous for the native plants and our animals.”
The parthenium is spread over most parts of the Dhofar Governorate, as it can be seen in prominence from Dalkhout, Rakhout to Taqah and Mirbat. It needs the urgent attention of the authorities to develop some mechanism to control its spread.