Oman health: Shura Council proposes higher penalty for polluting companies

Oman Monday 08/February/2016 21:42 PM
By: Times News Service
Oman health: Shura Council proposes higher penalty for polluting companies

Muscat: Penalties for companies that cause pollution of the environment may be increased soon, says a member of the Health Committee of the Shura Council.
The Health Committee yesterday proposed a number of changes to the Environmental Protection Law which was issued in 2001.
During a discussion with the Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs, the Health Committee proposed to raise the fine for any company that pollutes the environment, from the present range of OMR200 and OMR2,000, to a minimum of OMR5,000, according to Hilal Al Sarmi, member of the Health Committee.
Al Sarmi said that all penalties need to be reviewed, and especially those which are issued against companies that pollute the environment by dumping industrial waste, whether on the ground or in the air.
Al Sarmi said that the current fine (of up to OMR2,000) is too low, and added that the fine given to a company cannot be as low as OMR200.
“The current fine is too low and can be as low as OMR200 once the fine is actually imposed on the perpetrator,” said Al Sarmi.
Raising it is necessary, since our biggest problems currently are air pollution and industrial waste,” Al Sarmi added.
The discussions focussed on increasing the fines for companies, but Al Sarmi did not rule out an increase in fines for individuals.
In addition, the committee has proposed to add rules on industry emissions causing air pollution, a new article on sound pollution, and stricter inspection of companies, according to Al Sarmi.
Al Sarmi further said that an environmental inspection authority that probes companies needs to be established in order to improve inspections and keep up with the growing industry sector in
the Sultanate.
A press statement released by the Shura Council yesterday said that the proposals came “as a response to citizens’ requests to limit the negative effects on the environment and health of all.”
“These proposals are for the benefit of a cleaner environment and the health of all who are living in Oman,” he said.
The proposals will be studied by the Ministry of Environment, which will submit its suggestions at the end of this month. Al Sarmi said he hopes that the first draft of the new law will be finished
in March.