Dubai: The civic body is preparing to launch a unique campaign against graffiti by targeting schoolchildren and making them re-paint their school walls.

“To make students learn and understand the importance of not writing on walls, we decided to make them actively participate in the clean-up. We are in the process of identifying schools that face this problem, and will then encourage students to paint their school’s walls,” Abdul Majeed Saifaie, director of Dubai Municipality’s Waste Management Department, told Gulf News.

“By making students clean up instead of watching others clean, they will learn a valuable lesson and understand the tedious task involved in painting the walls,” he said.

Saifaie pointed out that the campaign in June will be held under the slogan Clean Walls … Beautiful City, and will target commercial business districts and residential areas, particularly in Satwa, Rashidiya and Mirdif.

Throughout the campaign, inspectors will patrol the streets to prevent vandalism and, according to the municipality’s rules, offenders will face a fine of Dh200 and if caught again, the fine will be doubled to Dh400. In addition to distributing educational pamphlets, a number of lectures will also be carried out throughout schools on the financial costs that schools and other establishments face when cleaning up graffiti.

The main problems caused by graffiti, Saifaie explained, is that it diminishes the city’s beauty, and the financial cost for repainting the affected walls. “The majority of people who write graffiti on walls are schoolchildren, so more awareness is needed among students and their families. To prevent this type of vandalism, students should be involved in summer activities in school holidays so they will not have any spare time and be tempted to damage other people’s property,” he said.

According to the pamphlet, the types of graffiti found in Dubai include indecent writing, personal messages and ambiguous symbols. It also addresses the factors that influence students in writing graffiti, including as an expression of malice and a lack of education.

Concern about graffiti is widespread, and authorities in various emirates have already launched initiatives to curb it.

Al Ain Municipality has also launched a campaign to curb graffiti to protect the authentic look of the city.

The municipality is planning to raise awareness in the community on the importance of facing up to and curbing graffiti spraying, which tarnishes the image of many facilities and public and private property.

The campaign is being implemented in cooperation with various bodies such as the community police, Al Ain Education Zone, Al Ain Sports Club and others. Mohammad Abdul Rahman, a first team player in Al Ain Sports Club, called on students of Moawiya Ibn Abu Sufian Primary School to participate in the campaign and help curb this phenomenon.

Meanwhile in Sharjah, the problem of graffiti is not limited to people spraying words on walls but also to putting up unauthorised advertisements or brochures. Any person who mars the appearance of the city and the environment can be slapped with a fine of Dh500, while posting unauthorised advertisements leads to a fine of Dh1,000.