Dubai: Motorists beware before you litter. You could be slapped with a Dh1,500 fine if caught mindlessly discarding trash from your car in the emirate, Gulf News has learnt.
While the traffic fine for littering is Dh1,000 and six black points, it could go up to Dh1,500 if you are caught throwing waste from your vehicle by Dubai Police and Dubai Municipality at the same time, officials clarified.
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Throwing waste from a moving vehicle, whether it is tossing a cigarette butt or tissue paper or food and drink packets will now attract harsher punishment after new amendments to the UAE Federal Traffic Law were enforced from July 1.
“In the past, the penalty was Dh500 and four traffic points and the new law made the penalty harsher to crack down on people who throw garbage from moving vehicles.
"We see people doing that and it is not good behaviour,” said Maj Gen Engr Mohammad Saif Al Zafein, Assistant Chief for Operations Affairs at Dubai Police and head of UAE Federal Traffic Council.
He said the police were concerned about road safety [as it can distract other drivers or harm pedestrians] and the environment and the penalty became double to tackle this bad behaviour on the roads.
He said throwing garbage includes all types of waste, even cigarette, and it is punishable by the law.
“The fine will be on the driver even if another person in the car throws the waste. The driver will be fined Dh1,000 and receive six traffic points,” he clarified.
In the first three days after the new rule was implemented, Dubai Police fined six drivers for this offence.
However, this fine can shoot up to Dh1,500 if an inspector or supervisor from the Waste Management Department of the Dubai Municipality also catches the offence at the same time.
The municipal fine for littering in a public place, whether from a vehicle or otherwise, has not been hiked since 2015 and remains Dh500, Abdul Majeed Abdul Aziz Saifaie, Director of Waste Management Department at Dubai Municipality confirmed to Gulf News.
“We don’t have a separate fine for littering from a car or moving vehicle. It is included in the general fine for getting rid of waste in public places improperly,” he explained.
The municipality fine for littering was changed to Dh500 under resolution number 14 of 2015 issued by Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council.
However, Al Saifaie clarified that the violation can be booked by both the policemen and the municipal inspectors and separate fines can be imposed on the offender if they witness the act at the same time.
In that case, the police can impose a fine of Dh1000 and the municipality can levy a fine of Dh500.
While the traffic fine for the offence is related to road safety and misbehaviour of commuters, Al Saifaie said the municipal fine is aimed at ensuring cleanliness, aesthetic appearance and civilised image of Dubai’s streets and protecting the environment.
“It is a violation of two different laws from two different authorities. I can just say he [violator] is unlucky as there is less chance for this to happen."
He said 154 foremen and inspectors with the department, working in three shifts across the emirate, are authorised to book people littering.
In 2016, a total of 2939 fines were issued for littering in public places in Dubai. In the first six months of this year, as many as 1521 fines were issued.
Municipal fine for littering in public places: Dh500
Number of drivers fined for littering in first 3 days after new traffic law was enforced: 6
Number of municipal fines issued for littering in 2016: 2939
Number of municipal fines issued for littering in first 6 months of 2017: 151