I was on my way to college, when I saw these strange cards lying on the grounds having pictures of scantily clad women and advertised as massage centres with mobile numbers printed for contact. I ignored them a few times but later I saw them in many different areas of Dubai, Sharjah and Ajman.
I’ve observed municipality cleaners cleaning the streets around the city every morning, despite that new cards appear on the ground almost instantly, with more numbers and pictures of new women on them.
I was curious to know about who are the people responsible for this. So, one day I gave it a try, I called them as a customer, interested in their service.
The first few times no one answered, later a person answered. I asked him about the services being offered by them and what were they charging.
The person suddenly got scared and disconnected the phone, suspicious whether someone is trying to investigate. I called again and he told me that they charge Dh150 per hour and I should come only if I had money on me.
Next, I asked him about the business’ location. He said you can’t come here on your own, we will send a taxi who will bring you to our place, it was in Sharjah’s Al Nahda area but he refused to mention the exact location and suddenly disconnected the phone. From how the phone call unfolded, my doubts about the businesses involved in suspicious activities were confirmed.
I have been seeing these cards now for the past 6 months. This can’t be carried out by a single person, it involves a number of people circulating these cards in various areas. I’ve seen these cards lying in the crowded areas of the cities.
I started asking people if they, too, were aware and bothered by these cards lying in different areas across the cities. One resident of Sharjah, Haseen Shahid said: “I have seen these cards lying in many areas, but usually ignored them but each time I see them, the pictures of women are quite immoral, so I hope the police take action against these people. I wanted to report but due to my busy schedule, I couldn’t.”
I questioned some people in Ajman as well, regarding the matter. Rahul, a municipal worker, who didn’t want to give his full name, said: “I’ve seen these cards lying in many areas, even though I clean up all these cards the next day I see a fresh bunch of cards scattered again all over the place. However, I haven’t seen anyone until now who keeps scattering these cards.”
A Dubai resident, Suresh Narayan added: “I’ve seen these cards quite often, not only lying on the ground but also on cars’ windows, a lot of them being stacked up. It’s quite annoying to keep removing them each time. It messes the ground as well.”
After speaking to many people, almost all of them had at some point seen these cards and thought that it’s an issue that needs to be reported to the authorities.
So, I would like to request the concerned authorities to take action against these people, who are engaged in such activities. Such practices are a threat to the well-being of the community as well as disrupting the cleanliness of the country.
The fine for littering is Dh500, according to Dubai Municipality’s regulations.
The reader is a Sharjah resident.
Be a community reporter. Send us your videos and pictures at firstname.lastname@example.org