KUWAIT: The State of Kuwait, adopting international laws and principles on the environment protection, has taken a chain of steps at this level, latest of which was establishment of the Kuwait Environmental Police (KEP). The KEP has been established in line with guidelines by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Kuwait’s top advocate of humanitarian principles and security-whose efforts in these domains have earned him the UN-designated title, the ‘Humanitarian Leader,’ coupled with another equal-caliber gesture on part of the international organization, dubbing the State of Kuwait, the ‘Humanitarian Center.’
On the basis of His Highness the Amir’s instructions, the National Assembly (Parliament) has enacted Law 42/2014, modified with the Law 99/2015, stipulating formation of the KEP and setting its tasks in the provisions, 113, 114 and 115, said Lieutenant Colonel Hussein Mohammad Al-Ajmi, the KEP Chief, in an exclusive interview with Kuwait News Agency (KUNA).
Sheikh Mohammad Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, the Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister, has hastily implemented these laws, responding to His Highness the Amir’s desire, putting all the resources in his hands for enforcement and establishing the necessary administration for the special squad, said Lieutenant Colonel Ajmi in the interview. He also lauded, in this respect, efforts of the Undersecretary, Lieutenant General Suleiman Al-Fahad and the chief of the special commission tasked of setting regulations for establishment of the KEP department, the Assistant Undersecretary for Public Security, Major General Abdulfattah Al-Ali.
Lt Col Ajmi, who has a Master’s degree in environmental sciences, revealed that the Ministry of Interior has mapped out an executive plan for launching media campaigns and educating the public about necessary role of the new force, with respect of protecting the environment as well as ensuring sustainable development and bolstering environmental security.
The squad has already staged patrols at shopping malls, fair grounds, Kuwait International Airport, hospitals and ministries, monitoring any violations against sound and clean surrounding, such as littering or smoking. Tickets have been issued against smokers at some malls, where special enclosures for smokers are available.
Elaborating, Lt Col Ajmi said the ministry is cooperating with the UN Development Programme (UNDP), seeking guidance on regulating the newly-born department, in addition to cooperation with the Interpol for expertise exchange in this field, namely identification of environmental crimes and penalties.
The KEP command will take part later this month in a conference at officers’ level, due in the French city Nimes, for examining other states’ experience in combating environmental offenses and establishing cooperation in the sector.
Lt Col Ajmi indicated that the squad cooperates with the Environment Public Authority (EPA), noting that several cases, classified as both felonies and crimes, have been referred to the Public Prosecution. Shedding some light on offenses, categorized as part of the KEP tasks, he mentioned fishing in the Kuwait Bay, dropping waste randomly, scooping up soil particularly at the camping locations or another harmful action in the desert that may harm the wild life. Lt Col Ajmi urged citizens and residents to report about any detrimental acts against the Kuwaiti environment, via the MoI operations room phone number, 112.
Meanwhile, Khaled Mardhi Al-Enezi, EPA Public Relations Director, affirmed the necessary role of the KEP in clamping down on environment violations, “with the power of the law.” The force also helps the authority during inspection tours to plants, factories, natural reserves, ports and beaches.
The KEP and EPA perform in an integrated manner, where the squad takes charge of the security matters, while the authority handles technical issues, he said, noting that penalties and fines imposed on the offenders are not intended to make financial proceeds; but to inject awareness among such persons of who do inconsiderate acts that leave damage on the surroundings and the environment.
Fines range between KD 50 and KD 1 million, he said, explaining that persons who may import materials of mass destruction, such as nuclear ordnance, may receive utmost severe punishment, reaching execution, considering the immense magnitude of the damage inflicted to the Kuwaiti environment and people’s safety. Smokers in public are fined KD 50, and if they committee the offense again, the penalty reaches KD 100. Restaurants that allow tobacco puffing are fined KD 5,000. Among the recently executed anti-smoking campaigns was the one at the Avenues shopping mall-themed “it is worth protection.”
Also in this regard, KUNA interviewed citizen Fawaz Al-Saeedi, who lauded the campaigns for protecting people against passive smoking, expressing gratitude to the MoI for seeking to secure healthy leisure places for the families and children. Farhan Al-Ebayyan, another citizen, said public smoking must be fought because it is tantamount to infringement on the others’ freedoms. Also, Nabila Hayat said the action should spread to public department where “smoking is rampant.”
Separately, the Kuwait Environment Protection Society (KEPS) has called for furnishing the Kuwait Environmental Police with all facilities needed because it constitutes “the right arm for the environmental associations in the country.”
Abdul-Amir Al-Jazzaf, the society secretary general, told KUNA yesterday that it was putting all its expertise, teams, committees and researchers at the disposal of the KEP, with aim of ensuring best environmental awareness among the citizens. The society has organized a seminar on negative effects of camping on the environment, touching on the natural resources degradation due to some inconsiderate actions in the desert. – KUNA