Dirty car parked in Al Safa area, Dubai. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Dubai: More than 2,100 cars were seized by Dubai Municipality till the end of August this year.

They were taken after warnings to move or clean them were ignored by car owners.

In the same period, the municipality issued more than 17,400 notices to offending cars.

It marks a rise in both the number of seizures and warnings this year compared to the same period in 2013.

Some parked cars are deemed a safety risk or obstruction to civic work, with officials routinely rounding up several cars every month.

Motorists, including those on holiday, sometimes leave behind dirty cars in public areas for extended periods of time.

Others abandon their cars altogether, while some vehicles block the way of cleaning or safety crews.

In a routine occurrence, a few car owners returning from holiday are shocked to find their vehicles missing, suspecting theft.

Police usually direct them to first check if the municipality has impounded their cars.

The fine and fees to recover seized cars can tally up to Dh1,060.

“Why do we move the cars? Usually it’s when they are delaying or stopping the work of city safety or cleaning,” said Abdul Majeed Saifaie, director of the municipality’s waste management department.

Offending cars are served an orange notice sticker to remedy the situation within three to 15 days, depending on the severity of the problem. If the car is not moved or cleaned until the notice period ends, inspectors impound it.

Cars which are not claimed and retrieved from the pound are auctioned off after six months.

“You have to be careful your car is not getting in the way of safety of others, or if you’re not cleaning your car, or stopping cleaning crews from doing their work.”

The director added: “In partnership with the RTA [Roads and Transport Authority] and police and others, it’s our responsibility to make sure that the safety and cleanliness situation is in order.”

Sharjah Municipality has also issued a warning to residents who park their vehicles on the streets for long periods of time while on vacation.

Ebrahim Al Housani, head of operations at Sharjah Municipality told Gulf News that car owners who have travelled and left their cars parked on the streets will be fined Dh500.

He explained that the municipality gives car owners a grace period to remove their vehicle from the particular location it has been parked in for an extended period of time in order to avoid any fines.

“The car will be confiscated after the completion of the grace period or if the owner fails to respond to the warning and notification of the municipality,” he said.

The regulations have been put in place by the municipality “in efforts to maintain the general appearance of the city”.

“The municipality urges vehicle owners to follow regulations and make the effort to maintain their vehicles’ safety while they go on vacation outside the country,” said Al Housani.