If a recent visit to Karama has seen a subtle change in the surroundings, then Dubai Municipality is patting itself on the back after a job well done, post a 10-day drive to give this congested neighbourhood a much-needed makeover.
The ‘Say Yes to Clean Karama’, which concluded earlier this week, has resulted in a surge of feedback from well wishers targeting parts of old Dubai, which many say is in desperate need of a scrub as beetle juice stains, overflowing litter and bird waste continues to pepper sidewalks and seating areas.
The good news is, the Dubai Municipality is listening and ready to overhaul neighbourhoods as complaints pour in.
Speaking to Emirates 24|7, Abdul Majeed Saifaie, Head of Waste Management Department at Dubai Municipality, said: “We have been regularly conducting clean up campaigns for neighbourhoods since 2008, with Deira’s heavily populated Naif area being one of the first we targeted, followed by Al Fahidi.
“Last year, unfortunately, due to constraints we were unable to actively continue with our neighbourhood overhaul, until now with Karama.”
Saifaie explained Dubai Municipality has launched an awareness drive in congested residential, business and tourist areas, handing out brochures, putting up signage and increasing the number of waste containers in targeted neighbourhoods.
“Karama is not only a popular residential area, but also a thriving business hub. So our campaign there was two-fold, including shopkeepers to maintain their area of business in a clean and safe manner,” he explained.
Without profiling any nationality or sub group as the most guilty, Saifaie explained that the challenge facing them has been educating this varied pool of people that a certain standard of hygiene and cleanliness is maintained locally, which may be different to practices in their home countries.
However, the waste management head didn’t shy away from admitting that “littering is the biggest challenge that we face here.”
He added: “It’s a 24-hours, round the clock job for us, picking up trash that others have left behind. Following this, paan or beetle juice spitting is also rampant in some neighbourhoods, despite being banned here.”
When quizzed though, Saifaie dismissed the chances fines being increased in a bid to curb this menace.
“We don’t want to do that, rather we want to continue creating awareness in a proactive way to curb waste and littering issues,” he explained. “We are hoping to decrease the incidences of fines being issued by 15-20 per cent this year compared to last and we are quite positive this is achievable.”
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