Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Why do people in Oman keep driving around and "shitting in our own nest?" Littering really pisses me off.


An email.

I have just read your blog for the first time following the advice of a colleague. Most enjoyable.

However my visitors from overseas have been disappointed by the amount of rubbish in tourist areas such as wadis, left behind by the locals [and visitors]. I work in a local school, and students often arrange beach cleanups.

If you [or someone who reads your blog] could provide assistance with a contact [or offer] to provide free 4x4's and [maybe even, dare I pray] a truck for a day, we could have a wadi clean up to highlight the issue [and at the same time actually visit a wadi without throwing crap everywhere, because usually wadi visitors are from Muscat and expect someone else, probably in an orange suit; from India; to just.... pick up their shit]**.
** [bracketed comments added by UD]

Yes folks, lets face it.

Those beautiful wadis of millennia, so remote and pristine, requiring serious expeditionary skills to get to, are these days

Photo: Wadi Sham, without trash. Gorgeous. (wiki)

well, simply "next to an on-ramp near you".

Yes, even you, YOU, with an Echo, several 'friends' and a few bottles of black market hooch. And, as bizarre an urge as it seems - to drive out of Muscat, to camp and leave your trash everywhere - you know what, you can!

Thanks to all the wonderful new motorways exposing the whole damn country to development opportunities and new coastal real estate/tourist complexes, the previously remote places are also drowning in a sea of garbage and assholes.

Before the concrete Echo-safe hyperlink was there, there was a code, a code of Honour, when going off-road in Oman. Most off-roaders I know from before either took their trash back with them, or didn't have any to start with.

But these days this country's gorgeous and most important asset - clean pristine oceans and beaches and wadis and deserts - are being invaded by local and expat idiots who are literally trashing the place.

It's not the locals [that live in said pristine setting] that are doing this. Or the tourists.

It's the locals from elsewhere (especially Muscat) and the expat residents who, well, just don't give a shit. And these people proceed to leave their crap everywhere.

I hate you.

When you are out and about in Oman - for &^%&^%&^%&^^%*&^&^%^ sake pick up your fcuking rubbish. Or I curse you to eternal damnation.

Talk about Haram man? Talk about lack of common decency? That's gotta be it...

Photo: Think Global, Act Local

So, if you have a 4x4* and/or really want to help my generous correspondent and his school kids clean up the place, send me an email or leave a comment with contact details. They need assistance.

* or a TRUCK!!!! Yes? Call now!


  1. I have been to various places around the country, and can honestly say this is truly a serious issue. What makes it more ugly is the fact that we, the locals, are the majority of contributors! Keep the good UD, I respect this post!

  2. UD,
    Thanks for highlighting this,

    Yes, most of us (including omanis from Muscat) seem be so used to the "orange suits"

  3. I have to say that this is not only visitors. Hang out with the local fishermen (marine oil) or mountain villagers (sun top and sohar chips) for a few minutes.

    When I asked why they continued to litter in their beautiful village/beach he replied "mafi mushkele, the rain/tide will take it away."

    A sort of "out of sight out of mind" mentality, though it's not really out of sight at all!

    What about visitors leaving toilet paper et al in the most obvious places in the mountains. Dig a hole and burn it or take it with you, people! Just because you folded it nicely under a rock does not make it okay.

    Education is the key to this issue.


  4. I've seen all sort of people, from kids to businessmen, both locals and expats, littering just everywhere. The most annoying thing is throwing rubbish or cigarettes outside the car window. Personally i would create a "cleaning squad" which main purpose would be to pick up all sort of litter especially in wadis and beaches, but also with the license to fine anyone who does not respect the rules and makes Oman dirty. They could be called ecological agents…or something like that, and that would also create a few more jobs since the Government is so concerned about unemployment.

  5. My sentiments exactly. See http://www.livinginoman.com/2009/10/transport-in-oman-part-ii.html and other references to dirty filthy people.

  6. White Book -First comment-
    It is not a matter of how developed a nation is, it is a matter of stupidity, arrogance, laziness and absolute reliance of the shit producers on the services provided by the orange suits’ force.
    We all have received thorough environment related education in school plus the government efforts in raising awareness in this sense is outstanding comparing to neighbour countries.
    Yet the problem still exits, why? thanks to the great behaviours which crap generators enjoy.

  7. For once i agree with your post. These idiots have no shame or respect. Awareness is very important and the municipality is doing jack about it.

  8. It's very true that locals are the main contributors. I have lost count of the times I have seen locals throwing litter from their vehicles (whilst moving or at traffic lights) The best one for me was watching some guy (parked up) tear up lost of paper into shreds and throw it out of the car. It went everywhere. And then he proceeded to empty his full ashtray on the street. Classic! Too much reliance has been placed on street cleaners to tidy up their shit. Until the mentality changes, then this will remain a problem.

  9. Indians too are to blame. Just take a look at India. We do not even respect our own place and come here and treat the same. Spit and rubbish everywhere. Sometime I am ashamed to be Indian

    Sanjeev Jha

  10. Has Muscat Mutterings been blocked now? I can't get onto his latest post about Shell Marketing!!!

  11. I will never forget the first time I saw an Omani literally open the door of their vehicle in a parking lot, get out, pull out tons of trash and dump it on the ground, get back in and drive away. I was stunned! It happens here in Doha too :( grrrrr.

  12. I'd love to see less Smirnoff bottles and Heinekenn/Bud/Amstel cans lying on the coastline :)

  13. Can't we organise a "clean up Oman Day" and make it an annual event. Its done in other countries.

  14. Noticed at a recent-ish marine clean up...

    Well meaning, heavily made up young lady in long black gown with matching headscarf, doing her bit daintily picking up rubbish along with other good folk.


    Then, after brief rest and refreshment, discarding her wrappers and empties on the sand, as she casually walked away.

    Irony is alive & well in Oman.

  15. Well! Let me tell you the real reason WHY? Because when you have a university like SQU and their administration don’t want the changes because I was told that I’m very strong individual and we Omani are not ready for a change. IF, the vice chancellor himself is not willing and ready for a change that I was about going from village to village to educate parents how to corporative with the new life that I did a lot 40 years ago in Kuwait and if you go to Kuwait or any place in the GULF is really disgusting to see the rich only who has clean areas but behind the rest all are filthy.

    I also compare to the developed countries, as I don’t consider US also with the technology, development we have here a cleaner places too. I sometimes call it the fifth world. Recycling, cleaning the beaches all has been new starting in California which is still backward in Florida watching their beaches after all the visitors leave daily with broken glasses, beer cans, junk food bags---etc and behind them trash cans for every 30-50 yards!

    It was so shameful for me as a Middle Eastern /US citizen first of all when I called for the tour in Oman with a friend and member of my family visiting me shortly - OH NO I spoke Arabic which damaged my whole perspective from SQU to the locals, I have twisted my tongue many times to be respected. The driver was very charming but shocked to drive Arabic person and I told him you would have the adventure of your life since I know myself a world traveler and unique individual who blends easy with all.

    I had my garbage bags in the car as it is traveling habits too, secondly, we stopped at a grocery for Ali to get his sandwich, he throw the bag and paper out. I made him run after the flying papers (windy) to bring back to the trash bags. He was amused and some how shy of my actions. I taught him in Arabic the lesson of shame as he is the local and when he does this in front of foreigners, how would they respect your Oman…… Next with the new Toyota SUV he didn’t even knew how to drive the car, ooppps we had a flat tire in the middle of the dunes. You think he knew even where the tire stuff to lift it up…. So, WOW- two ladies here to tell him how to change a spare tire was sooo much for his ego, then we got another Omani with his passenger (military family vacationed) even that UK guy I was wondering how dumb he was didn’t know how to help. I have to take the second Omani driver to the side teaching him what to do to save Ali’s pride, also to take the car carpets to put under the tire as it was sinking down while jacking it up—you can imagine the rest.

    Then he wanted to show off again his stupid thinking we got stuck with thick grass in the sand, STUBBORN OMANI which this is my important words out of all, to call the tent guide who came and picked us up…

  16. Part (2)
    IF, the SQU administration who runs the Sultan best education entity very STUBBORN and don’t want the changes for better of everything in each department that they lack the ethics and values before education that will lead to piece of paper (certificate) but not into better individual. SO, go visit SQU and see the trash under the stairs which I told many students: Do you live like this, are you waiting for the people to pick up your own trash, can’t you just walk one yard to drop the trash next to you. I even once called a student when he crossed to the other side: Please, do you mind picking up your trash. I’m nice and funny in giving lectures of life etiquettes, but it did really make me so sad with all the experiences I had in a short time.

    Another story that impressed Ali, when I saw five locals on a beach smoking by setting a fire from the trash and plastic. They looked hardly bones with faces of 60 years old while they are all under the age of 18. I explained to them the danger of it then showed them the trash cans were located 20 feet from them,,,,etc. I was told that NO one ever cared for such; also I heard it for 20 years we never had some one very open like you.

    The problem is exactly like KUWAIT, or the gulf when the locals are arrogant, stupid, keep hiring more people from the outside countries to do their simple jobs THEY should never criticize expat because they deserve such. As one commented here EDUCATION is important, BUT such thing is fully cracked in Oman and the Sultan needs to overlook his administration in many fields starting with SQU. The only positive about Oman that the people are warm and easy to communicate and they are willing for a change – if they know you are loyal.

    Hint for this Article:

    Save the bag that you have for your food/drink and use it when you are done as trash bag, then throw away when you see the first trash can.

  17. this is a direct quote from an Oman semi government (eg promotional) agency
    "............to the endless unspoilt beaches along the Arabian Sea: ............... "
    Unspoilt is often replaced by ‘ pristine’ in Oman's media – I think they use either word when they mean without a Hong Kong skyline (perhaps Dubai would be closer to home)
    – rather than its generally accepted meaning
    1. of or involving the earliest period, state, etc.; original
    2. pure; uncorrupted
    3. fresh, clean, and unspoiled

    and remarkably ignore the almost never ending trash on most beaches - not to mention elsewhere.
    Advertising standards authorities would have almost as much rubbish to weed out of the text

  18. One of my oldest memories growing up and learning to read in Canada in the 50's was my parents pointing out the signs on the side of the motorway every 20-30 miles "$100 FINE FOR LITTERING" and in the National parks "$500 FINE FOR LITTERING", It works.

  19. Are y'all sure y'all aren't in, UAE? The same thing here. The thing that gets me, they throw the damn trash right outside the car, when theres a trash can right in front of them. )(&(*^*^&*^%^*&%*&^%^( WHY?!?!?!?!?!??!?!?!??!?!

  20. Speechless.

    Nobuaki Notohara talks about public responsibility in Arab countries in his book, A Japanese View of Arab Culture. I recommend this book to Omanis/Arabs.

    A few days ago I thought of writing something about what the girls on campus do to protect environment. Hmm.. not good at irony. It occured to me when I heard a female worker there calling some girls "animals!" Like "You stupid cow!" - Meet the Zohan. You know that doesn't have a positive connotation in Arab cultures. I think those girls deserved it. If you had the chance to see what's inside the dorm you'd reconsider whether you're seeing girls or something else.

    Truth really hurts. Ask the SQU Girl about that.

  21. I camped on the Damaniyat Islands last weekend - beautiful but very dirty, and more so during our stay due to the other campers (local boys) who walked along our camp site throwing cans and bottles as they went. We cleared their, as well as our own, rubbish and took it with us to dispose of in bins on the mainland. But Oman needs a whole shift in thinking - a few well-meaning people organising clean-ups is commendable but won't change anything in the long term. Go to the beach near Al-Hail on a Saturday morning before the orange suited cleaners arrive if you need further evidence. Cans, bottles, plastic bags, food waste and a generous smattering of dirty nappies. I used to think that Muscat (and Oman) was clean, but now I believe that's just the case in the main, "showy" areas. And it's a shame in every sense of the word. You have such a beautiful country!
    Louise Ragan

  22. @ MICHAEL

    Lol!! man .. i salute your parents ;-)

  23. Camping in the Daymaniyats? It's a nature reserve and I thought it's forbidden to land there.

  24. Oman wants to present itself to the world as a top class tourism destination - but I don't suspect they've actually bothered to find out what tourists actually want. They are concentrating on bringing in the high rollers, much like Dabai had to do, because, lets face it, there isn't much there other than big buildings. So Oman has followed in Dubai's footsteps by trying to build 5* star hotels and resorts everywhere. Is this what tourists want or is just that the ministry of Tourism hasn't bother finding out what will actually draw tourists to Oman?
    The big draw for Oman is the scenery, countryside, wadis, beaches, sea, well basically the country's natural assets, not 5* hotels and resorts. And although this is the case, the locals are systematically covering the whole place in plastic bottles, bags, Mountain Dew cans and McDonalds packaging, oh, and the contents of their ashtrays. I know there are other nationalities also contributing to the problem, but the locals are causing the majority of the trash. But like all good Arab nations they are refusing to acknowledge that there is a problem, and that they are the main cause of the problem.
    I've lived in Oman for 3 years and I can say that the one thing that annoys me more than the bad driving and the laziness is the complete disregard of the environment by the locals. I've been to some amazing beaches and mind-blowing wadis, but I can't enjoy myself because I have to clear a spot of rubbish before I can start to appreciate where I am. The Oman tourism industry has a goldmine here but it's being covering it in mounds of shit. Please, please, please, wake up before it's too late and before you destroy the country's main asset.


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