Increase in littering fines and other violations evokes mixed reaction
The public has expressed mixed reactions to the recent increase in littering fines imposed by the Muscat Municipality. The municipality raised the fine for public littering to RO1,000, along with several other violations, such as spitting in public (RO20).
The fines come into effect from mid-April. Though, most people said they were in support of the fines, but felt RO1,000 was too high a penalty. “I was very surprised,” said Mohammed Hafeez Malik, manager at a foodstuff company, adding that RO1,000 is too much. It should be around RO50-RO100.” He said they should be better communicated to the public.
“Maybe some people don’t even know about these fines,” he said. He said he still supported the idea of fines for littering, though. Ahmed Shaikh, a logistics executive said he supported fines in general. “It will be good for the country’s reputation. It will deter people [from littering] and help make roads cleaner.”
However, he thought the fines were too high. “RO2-RO300 is better,” he said. He doubted the municipality would actually follow through on implementation. “I don’t think they’re serious. They just want to raise awareness,” he said. Shaikh said the public should play a part in spotting people who litter. “It’s also the duty of residents and citizens - they should warn people and tell them about the fines. We can also call the municipality’s hotline,” he said.
On the other hand, Faisal al Hadhrami, an electrical technician, thought the fines were reasonable and should be even higher in the future. “It’s high, but it’s in the interest of society and the public,” he said.
Hadhrami said he thought the municipal fines will only apply to residential areas, and that police has separate fines for people who litter from cars. Sudershan Rao, a money exchange clerk, did think the municipality would follow through with the new fines. “It’s good. People shouldn’t spit or litter. But it’s [fines] very high. It shouldn’t be more than RO50,” he said.