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Readers plead for better civic sense

Reader winners focus on social responsibility

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Many expatriates come to the UAE because it offers them hope, hope for better standards of living, civic amenities and safety that their own country might not be equipped to offer. And, it fulfils on its promise, as seen from the letters and accounts from our readers every day.

In such circumstances, it becomes imperative we respect what is given - follow the rules, maintain the cleanliness and function with a strong civic sense. But...

The top winner for the community reports competition of July, Alexander Golub, talks about the terrible state of affairs in International City.

In his article published on July 6, “Dubai’s International City in urgent need of an upgrade”, he talks bout poor security, littering, defacing of public property and unhygienic living conditions. People are throwing garbage on the street, putting up notices on walls, broken furniture is strewn around, cafeterias and shops have no proper garbage bins, there are pests everywhere and tenants are drying their laundry on the plants, shrubs and greenery around residential buildings! Golub feels the only way to curb this is with tough action by the municipal authorities. However, the core of the problem is irresponsible behaviour by people. There is a serious need of respect for where they live.

Second place goes to Nadirha Steven, for her report, “From show-jumping to being abandoned in the desert...”. It was published on July 1. This is a heartbreaking story. A horse was rescued after being found in the desert. He had been left to starve to death with abscesses in his hooves, so it was almost impossible for him to move. Why would someone do something so profoundly cruel? He has been named Lazaz and is being fostered. But, rescuing him has proved to be a costly effort and funds are required. Pet abandonment is a serious problem and there are tough laws in UAE that find such behaviour unacceptable. Despite that, rescue centres are full up and desperate for volunteers and donations. Again, an example of thoughtless behaviour.

Third places goes to Glenn Selwyn, for his report, “This road badly needs speed breakers”. It was published on July 29. He was witness to several accidents in a particular community area and realised that it needed some sort of deterrent for speeding vehicles. Selwyn analysed the problem and came up with a solution of placing speed breakers. This was then escalated to the Roads and Transport Authority. They are looking into the issue, to come up with a necessary solution. This was an excellent example of a highly successful community report. It raised a valid concern, which then connected with the relevant authorities using the Gulf News platform.

To connect, to communicate, to better, is at the core of our community reports initiative that has now been in existence for nearly a decade. When we started, we thought it might be next to impossible to get people to report on problems, but residents have pleasantly surprised us and together helped build a channel for change.


First: Alexander Golub

Published on July 6, 2017.

Alexander Golub, a resident of Dubai’s International City, raised his concerns about his community through his report. Having lived in the area for three years, he has come across various issues, such as people drying their laundry on shrubs, littering in the elevator and advertisements plastered on walls and lampposts.

He said: “This is a good platform for us; people get to share their issues with the authorities through Gulf News. The newspaper than tries to escalate them with the relevant authorities on our behalf.”

He is hopeful that if the issues within people’s community are shared with the authorities and public, they could be resolved. Having witnessed several issues within his area, he has decided to continue writing in the future to get more assistance.

He said: “Each issue in my community could be expanded into a report because it concerns all the residents of the area.”

Second: Nadirha Steven

Published on July 1, 2017.

Nadirha Steven, a Dubai resident, wrote about the plight of a horse, Lazaz, who was abandoned in the desert. He was found starving to death and was finding it difficult to walk, especially as he had abscesses in both front hooves.

Steven said: “After the report was published in Gulf News, a lot of people came forward to help out with Lazaz. A lovely woman, who works as a teacher at a school in Dubai, was the most helpful. She brought her students to meet Lazaz, and they also gave money to help out with his recovery.”

The animal is recovering at the Desert Riding Club in the Al Khawaneej Area.

Third: Glenn Selwyn

Published on July 29, 2017.

Glenn Selwyn, a managing director based in Dubai, raised his concerns about an inner road in the Oud Metha area that requires a speed breaker. Motorists speed on this lane, which could be a hazard in Selwyn’s opinion, as there are people crossing the narrow road quite often.

He said: “Community reports are an excellent platform for residents of the UAE, because it allows us to raise issues within the area, which end up getting resolved. Without the authorities knowing these things, they won’t be able to take action. There are so many things happening around the UAE, so it’s good for us to bring forth our grievances.”

He is glad that through these reports, the authorities are noticing smaller issues to make Dubai safer. “After this, I will raise more issues through this platform, because our voices get heard,” he added.

— Profiles compiled by Rabab Khan/Community Interactivity Editor