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Up to RO5,000 fine for cutting, burning trees

11 Oct 2020 By MOHAMMED TAHA

Burning or cutting wild trees are violations of the Environmental Protection and Pollution Control Law for which perpetrators can be fined and imprisoned, according to Environment Authority (EA). In the wake of reports of such violations in recent times, the authority has reiterated its call for preservation of wild trees. 

On September 15, the EA was notified of an incident of wild trees and plastic being burnt in Jebel Akhdar, following which the authority, in cooperation with the Ministry of Defence, Public Authority for Civil Defence and Ambulances and the Royal Oman Police, assessed the situation at the site. 

On October 10, another incidence of tree burning was reported in Jebel Akhdar. 

Speaking to Muscat Daily, Eng Salim Said al Maskari, director of the Environment Department in Dakhliyah governorate, said, “Unfortunately, some tourists are not committed to preserving the place. On Saturday, a tree was burnt near Al Ghaleel Park in Jebel Akhdar.”

Eng Maskari informed that his department has several inspection teams. 

“But everyone must cooperate with us and adhere to the camping rules. People who want to grill meat should stay away from trees and be cautious,” he said. 

Ahmed al Shukaili, director of the EA’s nature reserves department, said, “Violations harming vegetation, such as burning and cutting trees in some places, including Jebel Akhdar, have increased in the recent past.” 

The Environment Authority is making efforts to reduce damage to the environment, such as logging and burning. Any person who cuts or burns a tree or damages the vegetation in any region will be punished with imprisonment and a fine.”

According to the Environmental Protection and Pollution Control Law No 114/2001, the offence invites imprisonment of up to three months, and a fine of not less than RO500 and not exceeding RO5,000, besides confiscation of tools. 

“The law punishes anyone who cuts, uproots or burns any tree. The law also punishes anyone who moves sand from valleys or beaches without permission from the Environment Authority,” said Shukaili.

He added, “The authority has increased patrolling in various regions of the sultanate, especially the nature and tourist reserves such as Jebel Akhdar and Jebel Shams. The authority is making efforts to spread awareness to preserve vegetation cover and prevent desertification through various campaigns. We cooperate with all associations that are interested in increasing the green space in Oman, such as the Omani Sidr Association.”

In cooperation with Petroleum Development Oman (PDO), the EA launched an initiative to plant 10mn wild trees in January. Since then, the authority has produced seedlings of sumr, sidr, shue, ghaf, tiq and alalan that can withstand the difficult climatic conditions in different parts of Oman. 

“The initiative aims to increase green cover in pastoral, natural and degraded areas, as well as raise awareness of the importance of expanding the vegetation area in the sultanate,” said Shukaili.

“The authority urges everyone to preserve the environment because it is the responsibility of all members of society. Please report any violations via the hotline 80071999 or 24693666,” said Shukaili.

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