Q1. A two-year campaign has been launched to minimise the use of plastic bags. What can be done to end the use of plastic bags?
Use of plastic bags as well as other disposable plastic items has created unprecedented environmental hazard, which will take years to rectify even if we stop using them now. But if we continue using plastic, the effects could be unimaginable and unmanageable. We should stop the use of single-use plastic bags or items now and replace them with other environment-friendly options.
Consumers should be made aware of the harmful effects of plastic to our environment. Also, some kind of appreciation or rewards should be given to commercial centres for taking steps to minimise uptake of single-use plastics.
Badis Saleh Gharbi
Plastic has become one of the biggest problems for almost all countries around the world. The problem is not only for sewage systems. Single-use plastic shopping bags also endanger wildlife. We cannot deny the tremendous harmful effects on turtles that come to Oman’s beaches to lay eggs. Plastic bags are mistaken for jellyfish, which are turtles’ best food. Shoppers should use multi-use or paper bags. The ministry can restrict plastic bag use and introduce bio-degradable plastic bags.
Eng Awadh al Sadooni
People should use biodegradable bags instead of plastic ones. We also need to teach our children the importance of nature conservation.
Khalid al Kharousi
Agricultural pesticide specialist
Shoppers need to ensure that they carry eco-friendly bags. Shops should raise awareness on the issue and minimise use of plastic.
Khalil al Balushi
We must spread the culture of preserving the environment among the members of society as a whole. We also need to minimise the use of bags that are harmful to environment and look for environment-friendly bags.
Q2. Muscat Municipality will fine RO1,000 for littering in open spaces (wadis) and RO100 for other areas. Will it deter people from littering?
Fines will not deter people from littering. Muscat Municipality should instead have surveillance cameras and display violators’ images on big screens at all public places.
Rashid al Ismaily
Private sector employee
I fully agree with and support Muscat Municipality in this. Hopefully, it will change the habit of most citizens and residents and we will have a cleaner city.
In addition to fines, violators should be shamed in public. There needs to be more awareness drives on the issue so that people understand the effects of littering.
Mousa al Rawahi
It is a good move, but I think the fines should be reduced to RO500 and RO50. However, I also agree that there are people who do not learn even after being fined. I have seen a lot of people dumping household garbage and old furniture in wadis.
It is a great move and I welcome it. It will definitely deter people from disposing garbage in undesignated areas and we will see cleaner spaces. This should have been done much earlier though.
Private sector employee
It is a good step to maintain cleanliness in the city. There are many irresponsible people who do not care for the environment and such a move will now make them think twice.
Q3. Often wadis and beaches are found littered after camping and picnics. Do you think there is a need to reduce the use of disposable cutlery?
Yes, plastic waste is a salient topic today. The good news is that alternatives are available and I am sure Oman will lead the way in elimination of single-use plastic items.
Faras Hamed Nasser al Hosni
Awareness is the key. And I’m happy that while single-use plastic items are still used in Oman, people – for the most part - are disposing them the proper way. Various branches of government are raising awareness. It is interesting to see that often schoolchildren encourage their elders to recycle and reduce waste.
Ammar al Battashi
Private sector employee
Yes, raising awareness is the solution. Alternatives are readily available these days. A lot of items like straws made out of bamboo or macaroni, single-use wooden cutlery and bags made out of vegetable pulp are available. We just need to make the effort to use them.
There is no harm in carrying reusable cutlery when you are feasting near beaches or wadis. It helps a lot in keeping the surroundings clean and prevents garbage bins from overflowing. A lot of awareness campaigns in the recent past have been held, but you don’t see much change. Imposing fines is the best solution.
Both disposable and reusable cutlery can dirty a place. It is best to spread awareness on the importance of maintaining cleanliness. People should carry garbage bags with them so that they can collect trash if bins nearby are full. Imposing fines will not help, instead those who litter should be made to clean the place as punishment.
Littering is at its worst after weekends or long holidays. Awareness campaigns and fines will not help, instead violators should be made to clean the place for a day as punishment.