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No plastic bag ban, but little litter on the streets – Doha Notebook 18



No plastic bag ban, but little litter on the streets – Doha Notebook 18

Visitors from Far East most masked here

Just days before the World Cup kicked off last month the Qatari government’s Covid-19 protocols required all visitors to have been vaccinated with a booster dose not more than nine months ago and to produce a negative PCR test not more than 48 hours before departure in order to be accepted on arrival in Qatar. But these requirements were abruptly cancelled.

In Doha, wearing a mask is not mandatory unless visiting a health facility. Most visitors do not bother to wear masks. However, many visitors from the Far East prefer to wear masks and are easy to notice as staying unmasked is decidedly the norm here.

No plastic bag ban, but little litter on the streets

There is no law banning the use of plastic bags in Qatar. Goods bought from supermarkets, convenient shops and other retail outlets are packed in light plastic bags not unlike those that were used in Kenya not so long ago before the government, thankfully, banned the use of such packaging.

However, unlike in Kenya where plastic waste, particularly those pesky light bags, literally choked the streets, playgrounds and waterways when use of the bags was permitted, there is no such pollution in Qatar. In fact, Doha is a rather clean city with little to no presence of plastic litter and rubbish dumps so common, you know where.

Visitors cannot acquire more than one phone line

As has been reported in this section, Ooredoo is the most popular telco here in Qatar, very similar to the situation in Kenya with Safaricom. However, Ooredoo’s only other competitor is Vodafone, which is not as popular because of a reported inferior reach.

However, unlike in Kenya where a visitor can acquire SIM cards across all the network providers and use these lines concomitantly, here in Qatar, once you acquire a line, say from Ooredoo, you cannot register for a Vodafone line and vice versa. Passport and Hayya card details are mandatory registration requirements. In addition, every line registered has a validity period, from 30 to 180 days.

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