Dirty car parked in Al Safa area, Dubai. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Dubai: Vacationers leaving their cars dirty on Dubai streets are risking penalties, the municipality has reminded residents.

The Waste Management Department of Dubai Municipality has launched an extensive awareness campaign against people abandoning their vehicles or leaving cars unwashed for long periods, the civic body said on Tuesday.

Since the beginning of 2016 till the end of June 2017, a whopping 37,347 warnings were issued to owners of dirty cars and 4,930 cars were towed away by municipal inspectors after their owners failed to pay heed to the warnings.

Violations leading up to the impounding of cars will attract Dh1,381, including municipal fines, storage charges and towing fee, a senior official said.

“There will be a minimum of six months’ time before the impounded cars are auctioned. If the owner wants to retrieve the car before that, he or she has to pay these fines,” Abdul Majeed Abdul Aziz Al Saifaie, director of the department, told Gulf News.

If the unsightly cars are abandoned on main roads, he said, the municipality will remove them immediately. “It is a cleaning issue for us. These cars affect the aesthetic appearance of Dubai and also can cause safety issues.”

Abandoned cars are seen as potential breeding ground for stray animals and a haven for criminal activities.

A warning period of 10 to 15 days is issued to the owners of dirty cars parked on interior roads. “We have an agreement with two private towing companies. Our warning notices are copied to them. So, their staff will tow away the vehicles the next day after the warning period ends,” Saifaie explained.

The department also impounds cars parked in private communities if the developers provide the details of the vehicles and bear the costs.

He said most of the impounded cars were abandoned by expats leaving the country after defaulting on loan repayments.

“Around this time of the year, a lot of people also go on vacation by leaving their cars unattended,” he said, urging residents to make arrangements for getting their cars washed when they are out of station for long.