Litter is seen on a pedestrian bridge in Al Karama area. Image Credit: Nitin Kumar

Dubai: I would like to highlight an issue that I have noticed in a number of pedestrian bridges installed across Dubai. In particular, I use the one on Al Raffa Street in the Al Karama area quite often and there is always a lot of litter on the pathway, including massage parlour cards, empty plastic bags and even cigarette butts (as seen in photograph).

The authorities construct these footbridges to help pedestrians cross a street in a busy area, especially those with heavy traffic, with ease and convenience. It makes it very easy for people to reach commercial outlets or bus stops on the other side of the road, without having to jaywalk or put their lives at risk.

The authorities also make a great effort to keep them clean. You see municipal workers cleaning up the public spaces in the emirate at all hours. However, despite that, the pedestrians using these walkways don’t seem to care.

People throw litter on the ground, instead of using the trash cans placed at short distances by the authorities. There is a lot of garbage lying around, especially early in the day when people are probably using the bridge to get to their work place or bus stops, which are located across the street.

Yashika A., a receptionist based in Dubai, has also come across a similar state on the pedestrian bridge that she uses.

She said: “It looks bad when the place is littered. People do not have any awareness regarding the effects of littering. It can spread many diseases. It also attracts a lot of rodents, too. People should be more educated about the consequences of their actions.

“The authorities must put more bold stickers stating the fines for littering and a CCTV should be installed on all walkways to prevent the same. People do not realise the effort and time it takes to pick up all the litter. The municipality does a lot of hard work to keep the city clean. We must all be responsible residents and do our part to keep it clean.”

Sarim Khan, another Dubai resident, has also witnessed the same issue in her area regularly.

She said: “The footbridge is a great asset for crossing from one side to another for pedestrians, especially when we can avoid the signals, but we are facing new issues daily. These footbridges are very dirty, filled with massage cards and garbage. It seems like people are callously just throwing garbage and destroying public property.”

People make many excuses to justify their callous attitude. When asked, some of the reasons they state are that they are in a hurry, so they had to throw the garbage on the ground. Additionally, they apparently didn’t see a trash can nearby, so they had to dump it wherever possible. And the worst of all, they see that the area was already very dirty and filthy, so it does not make a difference if they add to it.

None of these reasons justify their actions. People seem to be too lazy to dispose the garbage properly or even pick up any litter dropped by them accidentally. The most common littered item is cigarette butts.

While the authorities are doing everything they can to ensure the pedestrians’ safety, the pedestrians themselves don’t seem to care. We need to be more responsible when using the facilities provided by the authorities. It isn’t very difficult to carry an empty packet or soda can in your hand until you reach the next trash can and dispose the item properly. This simple act goes a long way in protecting the environment and other pedestrians using the bridge.

Dh500 fine

According to a Gulf News report published in March, littering or dumping waste in an area will result in the municipality inspectors imposing a fine of Dh500. The same applies to residents who throw cigarette butts on roads and in public areas including beaches. The fine will double, then triple for each repeat offence for litterbugs.

The Dubai Municipality has placed ashtrays and waste bins every 50 to 100 metres in the busy central business district areas.

— The reader is a sales coordinator based in Dubai.

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