Dubai is a neat and clean city and the municipal authorities go out of their way to maintain the beauty of the emirate. Residents too, need to understand their civic responsibility towards maintaining the aesthetic appearance of their surroundings.

Unfortunately, the whole situation is being marred by a factor that needs to be controlled at the earliest. I am referring to the phenomenon of clothes being displayed while drying in balconies, on window sills and the exteriors of residential buildings.

According to the rules issued by the Dubai Municipality, hanging clothes for drying outside buildings or in balconies is not permissible, as it distorts the image of the city. However, despite this rule, residents resort to this practice. It is a common occurrence and definitely an eyesore.

I am a resident of Bur Dubai and have observed this distasteful practice on the rise recently. Besides looking unsightly, it could also turn out to be hazardous. There is a fire risk as well as the risk of items toppling over or being blown off by the wind. Additionally, a lot of wet laundry drips down the sides of the building and leaves stains.

If people give no thought to the beauty of the city and recklessly ignore certain rules and regulations, they are liable to pay certain fines. Laws against spoiling the city’s beauty are strict and they go for everyone. Those breaking the rules and not paying attention to warnings could face penalties as high as Dh 1,500, as stated on the Dubai Municipality website.

Rajshri Mishra Sharma, a doctor and resident of Bur Dubai, has also come across this issue of people drying clothes in balconies. However, she feels that we also need to consider that people have their own limitations due to space constraints.

On being asked for suggestions, she said: “People should try to get a good stand and dry their clothes inside balconies in such a way that it is not seen. Even though there are washing machines with dryers, it is not an eco-friendly way of drying clothes, especially in Dubai, where it’s sunny throughout the year.”

Neelam Kapur, a homemaker and artist based in Dubai, feels that though drying clothes in the balcony is a basic household chore, it should be done in a way that is neat and does not look bad.

She said: “An alternative solution is to dry your laundry in the balconies during the night, when they would not be visible to anyone.”

The authorities need to strictly implement the existing regulations prohibiting the above unethical practice. This has to be combined with an awareness campaign at a community level, by dedicated residents motivating everyone to do the needful in this regard. I urge all UAE residents to take the initiative and responsibility to keep the city beautiful, neat and clean.

— The reader is a pupil based in Dubai.

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