Plan afoot to fine litterbugs in Oman

Energy Saturday 02/April/2016 23:28 PM
By: Times News Service
Plan afoot to fine litterbugs in Oman

Muscat: Oman is planning to hit litterbugs and nature offenders ‘in the pocket’ by deploying wildlife rangers with judicial powers, according to the Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs (MECA).
Talking to the Times of Oman, Mohammed bin Salim Al Tubi, minister of Environment and Climate Affairs, said park and wildlife rangers in Oman will be able to enforce the law by keeping an eye on violators and fining them.
He said according to the plan, rangers will be first deployed in the Al Sharqiyah dunes.
“This will help protect the dunes from negative habits practiced by some people, which harm the wildlife components,” the minister explained, adding that the new ruling will be issued in cooperation with the Ministry of Tourism and other authorities.
He further said that until that date, there will be 46 units set up for wildlife conservation across Oman, and that the Ministry of Environment is working on creating more units, depending on financial resources.
Nature advocates in Oman have called upon authorities to deploy the environment police in order to curb bad environmental habits, such as littering.
In a Twitter poll conducted by Cleanup Oman, a volunteer group, 84 per cent of the 458 voters supported the idea of having environment police in Oman.
"We should have rangers at all tourism sites, such as beaches, wadis (valleys) and mountains," said Batool Baqer, a member of Cleanup Oman.
She added that employees at these spots must be authorised to impose fines on litterbugs, illegal hunters, animals and birds' traffickers and factories dumping trash in waters and springs.
One of the main tasks of the rangers must be to protect the Sultanate's marine life from any pollution, such as oils leaks, Baqer added.
"If people who litter are forced to pay OMR20 or OMR50 out of their own pockets, they will never litter again," she said, while stressing that such an initiative will definitely stop the bad habit of littering or any other habits that may cause damage to the environment or the wild life in Oman.
Asked if the campaigns launched by official authorities in Oman are effective, Baqer explained that generating awareness alone is not enough.
"For many years, awareness lectures and campaigns have been conducted and messages are being delivered through all social media, TV and print, but people are still littering," she said, "I think this is the time to formulate rules and fines and actually implement them."