Dubai is a neat and clean city, and authorities in the emirate go out of their way to maintain the beauty of the city.
Whether you’re visiting the city as a tourist, or are an expat who’s been around for a while, it’s always wise to make yourself aware of the local laws and customs.
Not only does that make you an ideal visitor or worker, it also helps you to stay out of trouble. On the other hand, if you give no thought to the cleanliness of the city and recklessly ignore the many signboards or the rules and regulations in public areas, you will be liable to pay certain fines in the city.
Laws against littering and spoiling the city’s beauty are strict and they go for everyone – tourists, expats and locals.
Municipal inspectors are now keeping a strict vigil and looking out for offenders. No leniency will be shown to those who do not respect and maintain the aesthetics of the city. So, ditch the dirty habits and avoid paying your hard earned money in these fines.
#1 General littering: Dh500, Dh1,000, Dh1,500
It may not be as strict as a city like, say, Singapore, but if you litter in public areas in Dubai, you are liable to pay a fine when caught.
This includes public parks, beaches, roads...just about everywhere, and includes everything like throwing empty packets of chips, soda cans, cigarette butts, paper, etc.
The offenders will invite a Dh500 fine when caught for the first time, which will double, and then treble for each repeat offence to make litterbugs learn in the city.
This also includes motorists. If they are caught throwing anything out of their car windows onto the roads, they can be slapped with a fine. It’s advisable to keep a small trash bag in the car to avoid a fine. And when on foot, use the large number of trash bins placed all over the city to keep it clean.
#2 Spitting: Dh500, Dh1,000
It isn’t just a disgusting habit, but also an unhygienic one. It is, understandably, punishable with fines. There are clear signs in public areas that warn people that spitting and sputtering on roads and other public areas is prohibited and will incur a fine of Dh500. Chewing and spitting paan (betel leaves) has the maximum penalty of Dh1,000.
#3 Washing cars in undesignated areas: Dh100
Many residents wash their cars outside their homes in closed communities, in front of buildings and on streets, but this is not permitted in Dubai.
Authorities have issued warnings to people against washing cars in public places, and if caught, repeat offenders will be fined Dh100.
#4 Dripping water from ACs: Dh100
Yes, water dripping from AC units onto public areas can attract a fine. The same goes if you have an unattended overflowing drain outside your villa or townhouse. Leakage of conditioner water or any kind of water on the pavement and roads is an offense punishable by a fine of Dh100.
#5 Burning waste in public: Dh100
It may be a common site in some of the emirate’s villa communities, but it is illegal nevertheless. Burning waste, whether from your garden or kitchen, in the open is prohibited in Dubai. If you do indulge in such behaviour, be prepared to shell out Dh100 in fine.
#6 Eating, drinking or chewing gum on public transport: Dh100
Many people know it is not permitted to eat or drink when using public transport or at the bus shelters. But what some people may not be aware of that this also applies to chewing gum. If you are caught chewing gum, it will be considered an offence and the fine is Dh100.
However, the law is a bit different on the Metro. Eating and drinking is prohibited in certain areas, especially inside the train, but it is permitted to eat and drink at the stations and on platforms, especially with a growing number of regular food outlets selling burgers/sandwiches and food-on-the-move now dotting the Metro stations.
Eating and drinking includes water and chewing gum in particular, mentions the website of the Dubai Metro.
Another fact that commuters should be aware of is that you are also prohibited from resting your feet on the seats. It’s not clear if this is punishable with a fine, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
#7 Answering nature’s call in undesignated facilities: Dh500
It could perhaps be the most disgusting of acts, but there are people who have been caught doing so in public and have been fined accordingly.
Urinating or excreting in undesignated facilities is an offence and will invite a Dubai Municipality fine. If you are caught doing this, get ready to pay a fine of Dh500.
#8 Spoiling the creek: Dh5,000
Intended or unintended, but if you toss your rubbish into Dubai Creek or any of the emirate’s water (and this goes for anyone including vessel crews and companies), you may feel your wallet get lighter by up to Dh5,000.
The Dubai Municipality is working hard to enlist the Creek and its surroundings among the World Heritage Sites of the Unesco, and a UN mission is expected to visit the creek by the end of the year to evaluate it.
#9 Hanging clothes on the balcony: Dh500 to Dh1,500
This is a very common occurrence and definitely an eyesore. Dubai does not allow residents to distort the image of the city by hanging clothes, installing dish antennas, or placing junk in their balconies. Besides looking ugly, these could also turn out to be fore hazards. Those flouting the rule can be fined ranging from Dh500 up to Dh1,500.
Residents will normally be given a warning if they are first-time offenders, but if they continue to ignore the rule, a fine will most likely be imposed.
#10 Keeping cars dirty: Dh500
Dubai is known for its love of luxury cars and the most exclusive of auto brands can be found cruising along the city’s streets. In the midst of these flashing cars, there are some stubbornly dirty ones that can be seen in parking lots or on the side of roads, ruining the image of the city.
In such instances, inspectors’ first issue notice and place them under the car windscreen wiper to inform vehicle owners to clean up their cars.
However, if these notices are ignored and the cars are not cleaned or removed within 15 days, the municipality may confiscate the vehicle and owners of seized cars can face a Dh500 fine.
#11 Graffiti: Dh500, Dh1,000
Graffiti-painted walls can be ugly to look at. This is not a major problem in Dubai unlike many other countries all over the world. But there is a fine for such vandalism in the city, and it amounts to Dh500, which doubles if the offence is repeated.