Sharjah cracking down on unsolicited ads during coronavirus pandemic
Sharjah cracking down on unsolicited ads during coronavirus pandemic Image Credit: Stock

Sharjah: Sharjah is cracking down on unsolicited advertisement paper slips and leaflets slipped through residents’ front doors, a senior official said.

Though the practice is illegal, unauthorised persons continue to distribute such materials at the entrance to apartments and villas, quickly wedging the adverts – usually a small slip or single sheet – through the door or gate before vanishing.

The adverts are for a wide range of services from various operators and people, such as housemaids, Quran teachers, pest controllers, private afterschool teachers, furniture movers, and others.

In the time of COVID-19, residents fear the adverts could carry a risk of spreading the infection.

Pakistani expat Zubair Haider, 41, said, “In these times, such paper materials can be seen as a health hazard because you don’t know how many people have touched them. These adverts are obviously not sanitised.”

Another resident, Ali Rashid, 40, said, “While grown-ups these days are sensitised to washing their hands after touching anything coming in from outside the home, children are not as aware. They are likely to see such adverts sticking in through the door and pull them out to have a look.”

Intensive campaigns

Sharjah Municipality confirmed to Gulf News that inspection teams from its Department of Municipal Control and Inspection are undertaking intensive campaigns to monitor all distortions to the general appearance of the emirate and any negative behaviours that can harm members of society, including such adverts.

Jamal Al Mazmi, head of the city cleanliness monitoring department of the municipality, said inspection teams work continuously to monitor such cases. He added that such forms of adverts’ distribution are “totally forbidden behaviour” and violators will “face tough punishment”.

The municipality intensifies its efforts to limit the spread of this practice and spreads awareness through campaigns before imposing any violations.

Al Mazmi said the municipality is “tightening control” over such distributors, “especially in light of the current circumstances”. The civic body deals with all complaints received from residents, taking all precautionary and preventive measures before interacting with them.

The municipality receives complaints and queries in this regard through its call centre number 993.

Unlicensed businesses

Sharjah Police said as many as 56 persons from different nationalities have been arrested and deported for running unlicensed businesses in Sharjah. The accused were carrying out unauthorised activities, including posting of ads on residential doors and leaving promotional cards on cars.

Major General Saif Al Ziri Al Shamsi, Commander-in-Chief of Sharjah Police, confirmed that security patrols and criminal investigation officers arrested the violators after police patrols were deployed in residential areas. He said CID officers had kept track of their movements before closing in on them. He called on residents to cooperate with the concerned authorities to report suspicious behaviour.

Al Shamsi said in some cases, the contact numbers on the cards were from other emirates, but Sharjah Police coordinated with relevant authorities in other emirates to take legal action against violators.