Dubai: Shopkeepers have taken an active approach towards keeping Karama clean and are now educating pedestrians not to litter the streets.
The change in perception was a result of Dubai Municipality’s ten-day campaign, Say Yes to a Clean Karama, which was held at the end of December.
During the campaign shopkeepers participated in a competition to have the cleanest shops and ten were awarded on Wednesday with a certificate and trophy.
Khalid Taheri, owner of Mountains Way that sells handbags and accessories, which bagged first prize, said he did not take any additional measures and had always carried out the same practices in and around his shop.
“We did not do anything extra or special because we always clean the floors and walls outside the shop with water and soap, and we are constantly telling people not to throw their [polystyrene] cups on the floor,” said Taheri.
“Our city is like our home and we have to take care of it. I do not wait for the municipality cleaners to pick up the rubbish, but my staff and I do it instead,” he said.
However, not all shopkeepers adopted such an approach and it was only during the campaign that they first started spreading the message to keep the city clean.
“Now, I have changed the attitude of my staff and whenever they see people throwing cigarette butts on the floor, they tell them to pick them up,” said Raja Nazakat, branch manager of Karachi Darbar restaurant, who won second place in the competition.
“Since the campaign ended last week, we continue to clean the walls outside the shop and are taking extra measures to ensure that our premises are clean. We won second place but next time this competition happens, I want to be the first,” he said.
Municipality officials expressed their satisfaction with the result of the clean-up campaign and added they had noticed an improvement in the appearance of Karama.
“The shops have certainly changed their attitude towards cleaning up the area and their mentality has changed. During the campaign, 13 inspectors handed out brochures and explained to shopkeepers what measures they should take,” said Suhail Al Awadi, Head of Bur Dubai Cleaning Unit, Waste Management Department at Dubai Municipality.
The next clean-up campaign is expected to take place later this year in Al Qusais.