The Municipality, which is in charge of maintaining cleanliness and is authorized to issue fines, issued a reminder on various media warning people against violating the law. It cautioned smokers against discarding cigarette butts while driving or in any public place including the streets, parks, pavements and others. Violators will be fined according to law no. 9/1987, which sets the fine starting from KD 5 up to KD 200.
But the head of the Capital emergency team of the municipality considered this fine as low and not a deterrent for violators, saying that the Environment Public Authority is authorized to issue fines up to KD 5,000. In fact, the same law also includes other kinds of violations such as urinating or spitting in public, not to mention littering. But we still see many people littering in public places, even in front of the building where they live. Their uncivilized behavior needs to be strictly punished to protect our country and keep it clean.
People are not keeping the streets, beaches, parks and other places clean, so how do we expect them to recycle? If there are more inspectors who are really active in controlling violations in all public places, and if the violators are punished, this negative phenomenon will disappear or at least drop to a minimum. A few years back, inspectors were given the authority to issue fines, but no significant difference was noticed.
When the municipality banned barbequing on beaches and warned violators of large fines in addition to the possibility of deporting violating expats in certain cases due to damage caused by grilling, this negative act disappeared. This way of threatening succeeded to force people to respect the law, and this is exactly what is needed.
The EPA is also authorized to issue fines for some violations, which can be sanctioned by more authorities, if it affects the environment. A few days back, EPA again warned against grilling on beaches, reminding of the already existing law that allows EPA inspectors to issue a fine of up to KD 10,000. The fine depends on the level of damage caused to the environment. The Public Authority for Agricultural Affairs and Fish Resources is also in charge of penalizing violators if grilling damages trees and plants.
Littering is an uncivilized behavior and is not seen in developed countries, such as those in Europe. This comes from their culture, as they are taught to keep their country clean from childhood. We need to spread this culture among children and be a good example for them. Some Western teachers in English schools are trying to spread the culture of recycling and protecting Mother Nature by holding practical activities and field trips for students, and they have noticed students’ acceptance and interaction.
I hope we have many inspectors on the streets watching people and issuing large fines to violators to keep our country always clean.
By Nawara Fattahova