Monday column: Why not an award for cleanest town in Oman?

Opinion Sunday 05/May/2024 19:22 PM
By: Saleh Al-Shaibany
Monday column: Why not an award for cleanest town in Oman?

A truck drove past on the road and left behind a continuous stream of thick black smoke that hanged in the air for quite a long time.

The people who were walking on the beach embankment started to cough and the rest stopped and closed their noses with their hands. Even the seagulls who were flying low diverted their flights to another direction.

But that was not all. A long queue of cars were also contributing to bad pollution that evening. I wondered what the local environmentalists would say if they were there to watch it. Would they have sympathised with people like us trying to exercise in the ‘clean’ air?

I guess it is all about modern living and the environmentalists have a perfect excuse for it. They would say we need cars to move around and heavy vehicles to carry goods. But again it is not the pollution in the streets of Muscat only. Outside the capital, think about the factories, workshops, oil rigs that push out all the carbonized air out in the open.

There is nothing we can do about it but tolerate it when you want to live in the city or places where the industries are. People who live in smaller towns have a lot to be thankful about. I was in this village a few months ago and got to see it. There were not many houses there, fewer than a hundred. Only one tarmac road that meandered its way in front of houses for not more than a kilometer. I could count the cars there, too, as they parked in front of the homes. They were less than twenty.

Cleaner air in that little town? I am sure it has. I am also sure the environmentalists will be happier to visit there and bring their equipment to measure the pollution level. Then compare it with cities like Muscat, Sohar, Duqm and Salalah. In this stream of thoughts, maybe they should start a Special Award of the ‘Cleanest Town in Oman. Just to create an awareness on the values and benefits of clean air.

When I was growing up, the only smoke that comes out in the streets was from an open courtyard when someone was cooking their meals. Or when a housewife would beat a carpet with a stick to remove dusts from it. Oh yes, there was also smokes from the incense burner when they wanted to scent the house to remove bad odour. But these occurrences are far gone. We now live a different life where our routines spin out of control as we hurry through.

Maybe we also should encourage teachers to start a syllabus of “Clean Air Environment” in the early years of the primary schools. This way, they would grow up to understand the implications of pollutions in their lives. After all, children are the future leaders. But there is a good news already on the way with the announcement of the Metro System. This form of transportation, hopefully, will reduce the movements of cars by at least 50 percent in the future.

But talking about environment friendly towns, my opinion is that several towns in Jabal Al Akhdhar can win that Award.