Danbappa Muhammad with a banned shisha product at the Madenat Al Nokhba Recycling centre Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/XPRESS

Dubai More than 75,000 kilograms of counterfeit and banned products have been destroyed by Dubai Customs, Dubai Municipality and the Dubai Economic Department this year.

Ahmad Al Muhairi, senior manager for business awareness in Commercial Compliance an Consumer Protection (CCCP) sector under the Dubai Economic Department, which deals with counterfeit and banned products, claims the number has been on the rise since May 2017.

“In the last few months we’ve raided many shops in Karama and in other areas. Sellers are finding different ways to bring in these banned goods,” he said, adding that authorities are extremely concerned about consumer protection.

 Sellers are finding different ways to bring fake goods into the market”

 - Ahmad Al Muhairi, Commercial Compliance & Consumer Protection sector, DED

“It is difficult to put a value to these goods right now, but I’m certain we have exceeded 2017’s (January to April) figure of Dh114.5 million easily,” he said. E-cigarettes, e-hookas, tattoo inks and mobile hookah pipes, which are hazardous to health, top the list of items that authorities are on the lookout for.

So what happens to the seized items? They are sent to recycling centres where these products are destroyed and recycled.

XPRESS recently visited one such centre, Madenat Al Nokhba Recycling, located in Jebel Ali, to find out what becomes of the couterfeit items.

“We received 20 metric tonnes (20,000 kilograms) of fake goods between January 5 and April 30. This included fake printer cartridges, high-end men’s watches, shoes, designer bags, garments, MacBook, laptops and even forbidden items like sex toys,” said Danbappa Muhammad, project manager of recycling at the centre.

“For printer cartridges, liquid flavours of e-cigarettes and hookahs, laptops and all electronic items – a segregation process is undertaken. Glass components including watches are shredded together so that they could be used as raw material in cement plants while the others are compressed or recycled along with plastic items,” he said.

Fake watches being destroyed to be recycled.

Designer bags, shoes and garments are processed through a shredding machine and are used as filling for stuffed toys, mattresses and sofas.

Madenat Al Nokhba Recycling has been working with the authorities for three years now. “It is clear the demand for counterfeit products is rising, however, the government is more serious than ever to crack down on their sale,” said Muhammad.

In March, the authorities destroyed goods worth Dh1.19 million in a single day. According to the Dubai Economic Department, shoes made up a huge chunk of the seized goods in terms of value at Dh400 million while designer bags and leather products came in second at Dh72.1 million followed by electronic goods.