Abu Dhabi authorities appear to have stepped up measures against littering in public places within a campaign intended to keep the city of nearly 1.5 million clean as part of its Vision 2030 for greater Abu Dhabi.
Municipality inspectors in civilian cars have been deployed through the capital to ensure compliance with the rules, which involve fines of up to Dh500.
On Wednesday, an Egyptian man entering mobile phone shop was surprised when he was stopped by an Emirati, who produced the Municipality’s ID card.
The inspector asked for the man’s ID then summoned him to a waiting car, where another inspector gave him a Dh200 fine for throwing a cigarette butt in the road.
“They took my national ID card and told me I have to pay the Dh200 or it will increase by time…they said I will take back my card once I pay the fine,” the man said.
“I told them that I did not know about such rules but they did not listen and told me that I have to keep carrying the cigarette butt until I find a bin to put it in.”
The inspectors, who were in a four-wheel car, said scores of other municipality officials are on roads to watch out for such offences.
“We have instructions not to tolerate littering and spitting in the road…our capital has to be kept clean and people have to get used to cleanliness habits,” an inspector said.
Officials said new rules issued in 2012 doubled the littering fines to Dh200 for throwing waste and cigarettes and Dh500 for spitting. They said the municipality is now considering raising the spitting fine to Dh1,000.
They said the measures are designed to eliminate the habit as part of a “package of penalties” targeting wrong behavior in public places.
The present fine has already paid off as the number of penalties for spitting in public stood at only around 750 in the first nine months of 2012 compared with nearly 8,000 in 2011 and as high as 30,000 in 2010, municipality figures showed.
“A new list of fines which will be released soon.…it includes a fine of Dh1,000 for spitting in public,” said Khalifa Al Rumaithi, public health chief at the Municipality.
“These penalties could be raised in the future considering the fact that removing one thrown chewing gum from the road cost the state nearly one dollar,” he said.
Rumaithi said the new fines were part of a campaign that also includes distribution of leaflets to workers and visitors in four languages .
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