Municipalities Sector - mrmwr
The municipalities sector endeavors to implement many vital projects aimed at maintenance of public sanitation, consumer protection, keeping a healthy residential environment, providing municipal services to the public and beautification of towns and cities.
In his speech on the celebration of the second National Day, His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said declared; "We will establish municipalities in the main cities and eventually there will be municipalities in every city and village by God's will". Since then, the municipalities sector witnessed a progressively significant development in quantity and quality. The first step was taken in 1973 when the first three municipalities were established. The number increased gradually to the present 44 municipalities in different Governorates and Wilayats in the Sultanate. These municipalities later established a number of sections and departments of sanitation. The works of municipal bodies have developed significantly, impinging on various aspects of community life.
The municipalities sector undertakes a number of key roles, which include:
- Protecting public health and providing basic municipal services especially environmental sanitation, food and health control through regular analyses of food and water samples in the central laboratory.
- Construction of wastewater networks in all cities, and provision of municipal waste collection service in order to forestall groundwater contamination.
- Monitoring and inspection of physical development projects in the regions in order to ensure conformity with sustainable development
- Mobilizing grassroots support for the provision and preservation of development projects and services.
- Ensuring a balanced distribution of infrastructure and services among the governarates.
Some of the main challenges which the ministry strives to overcome include:
- The current upsurge in construction projects, the demands of a rising population and wide distances between. Willayats.
- The increasing demand for various municipal projects, particularly roads, street lighting, markets, parks and other facilities.
- Increase in the generation of residential and industrial waste.
- Increasing need to improve the coverage of wastewater stations and networks in most of the Wilayats.
- Increase in food outlets, as well as the increase in the number of different commercial, industrial, service and professional establishments that require regular inspection.
The Municipalities Law issued in Royal Decree No. 96/2000, lays out the specific roles of local municipal authorities as follows:
- Provision of Public sanitation services and removal of objects that detract from the beauty and hygiene of the environment.
- Ensuring public health and safety
- Establishment of municipal infrastructure and services.
- Development and beautification of cities and towns
- Ensuring sound and balanced development
- Protection of public property and preventing their illegal acquisition
- Encouraging community participation in development efforts.
Within the context of the duties of the Ministry, the activities of Technical Affairs directorate occupy an important place in the municipal sector in view of important infrastructure projects such as internal roads, street lighting, development and beautifying of cities entrances and establishment of gardens, parks and playgrounds as well as markets, slaughterhouses and parks.
These projects are designed to improve the living conditions of citizens and development of the necessary infrastructure throughout the Sultanate. In addition, the municipal authorities issue licenses for construction and renovation projects.
Health control services and wastewater management represent an important aspect in the municipal sector services considering their significance in the realization of public sanitation and protection of public health. Sanitation services are a key aspect in preventive health work and an authentic measure of the evaluation of the concepts of public health safety. The municipal sector also undertakes waste management starting from collection and ending with the sound disposal of waste.
Furthermore, the municipal sector issue licenses to control the activities of food establishments. It also conducts regular inspection of such establishments to ensure that they comply with health regulations for public health and safety. In another measure aimed at safeguarding public health, the municipal sector requires workers in food establishments to satisfy conditions for obtaining a health certificate before they can work in such establishments. Municipal officials also carry out regular inspection of poultry farms to ensure their commitment to health requirements specified for the business. The municipal sector also carries out periodic campaigns in collaboration with other relevant authorities to deal with the menace of insects and rodents.
Wastewater services are one of the important areas in the municipal work. It includes disposal, treatment and reuse of wastewater for the irrigation of crops and protection of groundwater from pollution. Wastewater stations and drainage systems are the main projects developed to carry out such services... Municipal bodies issue permits for sound and safe transportation of potable and non-potable water as well as management of and sewage.
The laboratory activities conducted by the Food Control and Environment Centre represent a fundamental work in supporting preventive health activities, consumer protection and preservation of health and safety for all members of society, mainly through the continuous analysis and tests of all types of food traded in the Sultanate and samples of drinking water. It also carries out studies and research in these areas and cooperates with national, regional and international laboratories.
The municipal sector also approaches consumer protection though awareness campaigns aimed at arming the public with health information and safety tips.