Oman


Litterbugs smear Corniche beauty


Environment hazard: Every piece of litter damages the environment, but few seem to be interested in it. At the Muttrah Corniche visitors throw a lot of garbage into the water. Photo — Shabin E./Times of Oman
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Muscat: Despite efforts by the Muscat Municipality to curb littering and constant reminders from the Environment Society of Oman (ESO), visitors to the Corniche in Muttrah continue to throw garbage around in the area.

A favourite hangout for many people, Muttrah Corniche overlooks the mountains and the sea and is considered one of the most scenic sites in the Governorate of Muscat where residents are often seen picnicking, watching the sea, or even just taking walks.

To the dismay of environmentalists and authorities, however, many visitors here often throw a considerable amount of garbage into the water. Adding to the mess are people who attempt to fish along the Corniche. They are often seen carelessly discarding the plastic wrappings of the loaves of bread they use for bait.  Khalid Balushi, who loves taking his morning walk around the Corniche, is saddened by people's thoughtlessness.

He urges visitors to carry home their trash. "Why can't people be more thoughtful when they throw garbage? It is sad to see them throw juice bottles, soft drink cans, tins and plastic covers into the water," he says.

Like Khalid, Ramesh M. comes to watch the active bird-life at the Corniche and also feels the mess created will harm the habitat of the birds and fish.

"Littering is a terrible habit and we, humans, generally don't seem or want to cure it. Visitors have a responsibility to keep the Corniche and its surrounding waters free of litter," he says.

He says nothing shows a greater admiration for nature than having an environmentally friendly picnic.

The ESO has been constantly creating awareness and conducting clean up activities.
It has been striving to raise public awareness about the importance of keeping Oman clean and reducing litter in public places.

It has been placing litter bins and signboards in areas that do not have them and ensuring that bins are emptied and maintained regularly. The ESO's anti-litter campaign recognises that 'waste needs to be treated properly as there is a risk of hazardous materials leaching into ecosystems and most importantly, water systems. Food left in the open attracts flies and rodents, causing health hazards'.

It may be recalled that the ESO organised several beach clean-up activities for different age groups with the assistance of the Omani Women's Associations (OWA), providing safety kits, collection bags, and weighing tools. These activities were also supported by the local mosques, and volunteers explained to the people the detrimental effects of littering.

Rahima B. feels parents need to set examples for their children.

"I often see parents litter in the presence of their children. I also feel miserable when a family leaves their garbage behind. They don't advise children when they throw trash around the place," she points out.

"Every piece of litter damages our environment. Let us make it a better place," she says.


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