By: Swapna Tarafdar

MUSCAT: Seeb Municipality says construction waste dumped in wadis, road sides and trash bins is proving to be a high maintenance affair.

Despite a rule which states that property owners should themselves arrange for such waste to be transported to the Barka dump yard, many in the wilayat are cutting costs by taking the easy and irresponsible way out.

Rashid al Hinai, deputy director of health affairs in Seeb Municipality said, “We incur an average expenditure of RO20,000 to RO30,000 every two to three months for this.”

He added, “After having undertaken restoration or maintenance work in their homes, citizens dump the resulting waste near or inside the municipality’s garbage bins, wadis or in open areas.

“This is illegal. As per rules, any construction waste generating from maintenance work in any household should be dumped at the Barka yard. Since our responsibility is to keep the city clean, we have to hire special vehicles from companies to help us clean this up.”

Sand, wall coverings, rocks, plaster, glass, wood, drywall, plastics, plumbing fixtures, electrical wiring, non-asbestos insulation, bricks, roofing shingles, concrete etc constitute such waste.

“Our responsibility is to collect refuse that comes from kitchens or from cleaning the house. Due to the irresponsible act of some citizens, we are now forced to collect construction waste also. The task requires the municipality to hire shovel trucks to collect and dump this waste in the Barka yard.”

Hinai said there is a rule under which offenders can be penalised. “The owner of the house in question can be fined according to the quantity of waste. To save money people get the maintenance work done by small contractors who do not transfer the waste to the municipality’s designated dumping yard. Property owners can hire a three tonne vehicle for the job, but they do not.”

Hinai said that household waste should be dumped in municipal bins, wrapped in plastic bags. People need to call the municipality’s offices to dispose furniture and bigger items and “construction waste should be dumped in the Barka yard,” he said, adding that the appeal is rarely heard.