Oman to jail litter bugs

Oman to jail litter bugs
Jail time and hefty fines will be given to people caught littering in Oman, as the sultanate seeks to retain its reputation as a place of natural beauty.
2 min read
08 Jan, 2017
Oman boasts some of the best beauty spots in the region [Getty]
Not wanting to tarnish its image as the "Switzerland of the Gulf", Oman is getting tough on litter bugs with jail time and fines for those caught in the act.

Oman boasts some region's best natural sites, but they have also been blighted by visitors leaving behind more than just memories.

Rugged wadis, serene mountain tops, wind-swept deserts, and majestic beaches are often also the scenes of discarded barbecues, leftover picnics and camp fires.

Some motorists have also grown accustomed to the habit of throwing rubbish out of their cars.

To tackle the problem prosecutors are being given the power to slap ten day jail terms or 300 rials ($780) fines on offenders.

"The new traffic law will help fight bad habits, such as throwing trash on roads," an environment ministry official told Times of Oman.

"However, the fines should be slapped depending on the trash thrown, location and violation."

Environment groups have welcomed the move, and said it should go to protecting some of Oman's treasured wildlife including loggerhead turtles and the endangered Arabian leopard.

It will also help retain the natural beauty of Oman as the sultanate seeks to market itself as an upmarket holiday destination.

Oman was listed in travel guide Lonely Planet's top ten locations to visit in 2017, and has benefited from a massive surge in international marketing and investment in tourist infrastructure, including a new airport in Muscat.

It has also earned itself a reputation as a safe destination in the region as other countries popular with European holidaymakers such as Egypt, Tunisia and Turkey witnessed a wave of terrorism attacks over the past two years.