According to a Gulf News report published in March, spitting in public currently carries a fine of Dh100. Image Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Dubai: You open your car door, while waiting at a traffic signal, and spit on the road. Unaffected by your own actions, you drive off as the signal changes to green. However, what you don’t realise is that your phlegm can spread diseases.

One of the many things that Gulf News readers hoped for is for people to stop spitting in public.

Fatima Suhail, a Sharjah resident, said: “I once came across a man whose car stopped beside mine at a traffic signal. He rolled down his window and spat out, dirtying my car in the process. I was upset about his lack of basic manners and public decency. You also see people spitting betel leaves at public places. It is not a pleasant sight.”

Neha Dadlani, a Dubai resident, said: “A few days ago, I was walking to the park and on the way I saw at least five people spit. I wonder why they do it in public. Is it for pleasure or a habit? Why don’t they carry a bag to spit in? They should be heavily fined.”

Sreekumar Menon, another Dubai resident, said: “Good practices should begin from home. Parents should be role models for their children. There should be topics on civic sense in every curriculum.”

According to a Gulf News report published in March, 2015, spitting in public currently has a fine of Dh100 and the fine for people caught chewing and spitting betel nut is Dh1,000. Municipal inspectors in all emirates keep a strict watch against littering and spitting in public. They note down car plates or labour card numbers of those caught spitting, littering or throwing cigarette butts. Dubai alone employs around 3,000 street and community cleaners to ensure a hygienic environment for its residents.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Tuberculosis (TB) is spread from person to person through the air. When people with lung TB cough, sneeze or spit, they propel the TB germs into the air. A person needs to inhale only a few of these to become infected.The WHO states that people can even be exposed to the Ebola virus from direct physical contact with body fluids like blood, saliva, stool, urine or sweat of an infected person.

When a person spits in a public area, someone who steps on the saliva will then carry the germs with him or her. When the person removes his or her shoes, the germs can easily be transferred. Additionally, if the person uses public transport and puts his or her feet on a seat, the person to use the seat next can also become a carrier. It is a vicious cycle.