Tuesday, February 20, 2007

theweek article: In The Name of Development

Here is the article that is to be published in theweek.

You can check it out online through the link provided on the right hand sidebar (Adobe reader required).


In The Name of Development

A foreign friend of mine approached me one day to complain about something that disagreed to; the way that the Sultanate is slowly and gradually losing it's beautiful, picturesque and panoramic environmental features.

One of the examples my friend had cited was the breaking down of many mountain in the Amerat and Wattayah areas to give more space for businesses to open up branches such as a new petrol filling station or a new automobile showroom.

Granted, that it is more business that it is more business Oman is in need of to help diversify it's financial resources instead of depending solely on oil and gas produce to do the job and for the country to be able to reach the 3% Gross Domestic Product target in the year 2020 of which tourism contributes 0.5% currently.

But that shouldn't mean that we need to risk away the environment for the sake of future economic stability, or else, we will not have a future to live in nor an environment that would support the inhabitance of our future generations to come.

For the last 36 years since the Sultanate's renaissance, preserving the environment has always been one of the top priorities of His Majesty's government, but it seems that as the needs grow further and further for the country to set up more tourist projects to build for its popularity level through the tourist's perspective.

As it just seems that we are giving away what our country has worked so hard on preserving in the past years that have gone by. This is seen through many examples mainly in the Muscat area such as the The Wave project or the currently being built; Blue City mutli-billion US Dollar project or more like the two projects that are going to be built both in the Ras-Al-Had beach front along with the one in the Yiti area; both, of which, will be affecting marine life dramatically like the seasonal turtle egg-laying period that comes once or perhaps twice of every year.

Don't get me wrong, here. I am not saying that we shouldn't have development projects to help our country to move on in being stable and more competitive economically. But, what I am saying is that we should be more considerate where we put our projects and actually determine the consequences that may or may not result from establishing one.

This result could be how it affects a tourist's perception of the country's environment and wildlife. Or it could affect how our business establishments may grow.

But one thing is for sure, it will most definitely affect us and the direct environment that we live and breath in. Consequently, affecting our very own lives and the very things that we take for granted.

Question is here: are we willing to make such a sacrifice?