As the UAE pushes for becoming a model country not only in the region, but also all over the world, the national government is keen on putting programmes that would benefit not only its citizens but also the environment.
Today, environmental issues are still among the top problems that national governments have yet to effectively (and collectively) address. It is for this reason that any worthwhile initiative within the national level would greatly make an impact.
UAE Gov’t to Impose Stiffer Penalty, Mandatory Community Service for Litterbugs
In line with this, many ideas ranging from imposing hefty fines to mandatory community service have been raised by environmentalists, as shared in a report by the Khaleej Times.
Besides the stiffer monetary penalty, those who will be caught littering in public must be slapped with mandatory community service to force them to stop the habit, explained Environmentalist Gina Fernandes.
Fernandes, who nearly lost her life in a fire after an irresponsible smoker threw a cigarette butt from a balcony, asserted that there should be increased presence of police patrolling communities to prevent such incidents from happening again.
There have been at least two fire incidents in the same building due to irresponsible disposal of cigarette butts.
Fernandes pointed out that the indiscriminate disposal of cigarette butts remains to be a major issue among citizens and tourists.
In 2017 alone, there have been over 400,000 cigarette butts collected at a beach in Dubai.
Another environmentalist, Priscilla Van Andel, who runs a group called ‘Project Clean Environment’ also shared the same sentiment, pointing out that there is a need for rangers to roam around and check areas including deserts and mountains for litterbugs, and be given the option to report such incidents to authorities. Furthermore, violators should also be ordered to clean up the whole area so that they won’t commit the same mistake ever again, Van Andel explained.
At present, the UAE government imposes an AED 500 fine for throwing cigarette butts on the ground.
Here are the other fines related to littering in Dubai:
- AED 500 for throwing gum in a public place
- AED 500 for throwing waste on roads from a vehicle
- AED 1,000 for littering on a beach
- AED 1,000 for spitting in public places
- AED 1,000 for throwing a cigarette butt from a vehicle
- AED 200 for littering or spitting in the Dubai Metro
- AED 10,000 for bringing in general waste from outside of the emirate to be dumped in a Dubai landfill
- AED 50,000 for disposing of hazardous waste at undesignated sites
Community-based initiatives such as this require cooperation and discipline among citizens. In order to prevent loss of life and damage to health and properties, everyone should make an effort to cultivate good habits when it comes to protecting the environment and communities wherever they may be in the world.