Dubai: The Municipality on Wednesday launched a 10-day awareness campaign in Karama to educate shopkeepers and residents against spitting paan (betel leaves), littering and allowing laundry to hang from balconies.
Keeping the two square kilometre area clean is a priority for municipal officials as it attracts hundreds of tourists a month, as they scout for bargains and affordable restaurants.
The area is also home to thousands of residents and includes about 1,500 shops, according to municipal officials.
Abdul Majeed Saifaie, director of Waste Management Department at Dubai Municipality, explained that shops that put up campaign posters outside their window display are automatically registered into a competition, and the top 10 cleanest shops will receive a prize for their efforts.
“We want to give them a prize that they can hang up in their shop and be proud of, so they will most likely be given a trophy and a certificate. Instilling good habits is very important because we have to keep such a populated area like this clean,” said Saifaie.
During the campaign, “Say Yes to a Clean Karama”, pamphlets and posters in English, Arabic, Urdu and Malayalam will be distributed to shops, raising awareness against spitting paan, littering, and allowing clothes to hang from balconies.
Saifaie pointed out that inspectors from the waste management department will be monitoring the shops on a regular basis and note down their efforts cleaning up their vicinity.
“We do not want to see litter around the shop and there should be nothing outside of it either, such as rubbish bags, chairs or mannequins,” he said.
This is not the first municipal campaign to focus on a district, as it was initially carried out in 2008 at Naif and then in 2009 at Al Fahidi.
As per Dubai Municipality regulations, residents caught chewing or spitting paan — which leaves a deep red stain — will be slapped with a Dh1,000 fine, while littering will attract penalties in the range of Dh100-Dh50,000.
Although the number of occurrences of paan spitting has reduced in Karama in the last few years Saifaie pointed out that its distribution has increased.
If residents hang their laundry from balconies, Dubai Municipality will first hand out a warning and, upon subsequent flouting of the rules, a fine ranging from Dh500-Dh1,500 will be slapped against them.
Berna Pereira, who owns a tailoring shop, expressed her enthusiasm for the campaign as she has been complaining for five years to the management of the property developer to clean up the area.
“People spit, throw cigarette butts, paper cups, and leave food in open bags spilled across the floor so that cats can eat it. The property developer refuses to take any action and this place then turns into a dumpyard,” she said.