Sharjah: A recent two-week campaign carried out by Sharjah Municipality warning residents not to use their balconies for storage purposes, hanging laundry or installing satellite dishes has residents asking questions.
With inspections taking place in most areas in Sharjah, many residents are wondering where they should hang their laundry out to dry if their balconies are not an option.
A Sharjah official from the municipality also told Gulf News that the municipality issues fines to residents who distort the appearance of the city by hanging their laundry above the balcony wall level. If the laundry is kept below the wall level where it is not visible, a fine will not be issued, he explained. “Our aim is to preserve the aesthetic appearance of the city, not issuing fines,” he said.
Nada Saeed Al Suwaidi, Director of Government Communication at the municipality, also pointed out that the campaign is part of the municipality’s ongoing efforts to maintain the beauty of the city and eliminate any practices that may distort its overall appearance. Residents who violate the rules will be given a Dh500 fine.
Sharjah resident Shams Kumar, from India, told Gulf News he is one of 15 residents in his building located in Al Majaz area who was fined for displaying laundry in his balcony despite it being below wall level. Kumar explained that his balcony is covered with blue reflective glass that reduces visibility except during early morning hours before the sun is up or in the late evening. “Because of the reflection, you cannot see inside the balcony during the day, and the laundry is kept below the wall level. The inspectors, however, came early in the morning and I was fined,” he said.
As a part of the campaign, pamphlets and brochures in four languages — Arabic, English, Farsi and Hindi — were distributed across Sharjah to inform the public of the rules and regulations.
However, many residents have complained that they do not own a dryer and hanging laundry in the balconies is their best option.
Sharjah resident Hana M., who is a mother of three, said she cannot dry her laundry indoors as she is limited with the small space in her apartment. “With three children, there is a lot of laundry that needs to dry and if I hang it inside instead of in the fresh air under the sun, it will take far too long to dry,” said Hana.
The Syrian mother also pointed out that residents can also reduce their carbon footprint by drying their clothes outside instead of using a dryer.
Meanwhile, the municipality is providing residents who wish to challenge a fine issued to them with a hotline number (993). Residents can also contact the municipality via its social media channels to challenge a fine or use the fine challenge e-service available on the municipality’s website, said the official.
In efforts to help residents avoid violations, the municipality has also distributed posters warning residents of the fines for common offences. The posters, which were placed in the lobby or the reception area of residential buildings in Al Taawun area, describe fines ranging from Dh300-Dh2,000. They also offer advice, urging residents to attest their tenancy contracts and only hire authorised pest control agents. The municipality’s hotline and social media contact information is also provided.
With inputs from Faisal Masudi, Staff Reporter