MUSCAT, Oct 2 – Littering is one of the biggest problems dogging the cities these days, says Yusra M Jaffer, Public Relations Manager, Environment Society of Oman (ESO).
Speaking on the sidelines of ESO’s Public Speaking Campaign press briefing, she welcomed the law that makes littering a punishable offence.
The public speaking contest aims at raising public awareness on environmental issues and envisages youth as brand ambassadors for Oman’s clean environment drive.
She said there were a number of environment-related problems, most of which were due to reckless behaviour of the people. Among these are littering of parks, beaches and places of touristic importance.
According to her, a change in the habits of people can cause a sea change in the way Oman looks.
Yusra said the ESO is coordinating with several ministries and the public authorities, including the Muscat Municipality, to accomplish this task.
The ESO has been distributing jute bags to its members to discourage the use of plastic bags.
“We have many ongoing campaigns to reduce littering in public places. However, enforcement of the littering legislation can bring in positive changes and our environment can breathe easy if littering is fully stopped,” she said.
“While legislation can impose rules and regulations, I strongly believe it is the self-imposed control that is most desired. Unless an individual decides to change himself/ herself, a
society cannot be changed. Hence, keeping our environment clean is
the prime responsibility of every single citizen and resident,” Yusra added.
Meanwhile, there have been calls for increasing fines on littering and implementing the civic authority’s prerogative to punish offenders with stricter actions. Currently, litterbugs are fined RO 200-500. If the offence is repeated, the fine is doubled.