DUBAI // Up to 1,500 seemingly abandoned cars are issued tow-away warnings every month, municipal sources say, and about 250 are actually removed.
Al Qusais scrapyard is filled with dusty, abandoned vehicles waiting to be claimed or auctioned off.
Dubai Municipality stepped up its efforts to get rid of as many abandoned vehicles as possible this week as part of its "Clean Up the World 2010" campaign, launched in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme.
Yesterday, 55 cars were removed - including 10 heavy vehicles.
"When we notice a car that looks suspicious, we issue a warning. If it is on a main road we wait seven days, otherwise we wait 15 days before we confiscate it," said Abdul Rahman Mustafa, the head of the Abandoned Vehicles Unit.
The reasons for abandoning vehicles are varied, he said.
"It could be because the owner is unable to keep up with payments, or because the vehicle was involved in an accident and costs too much to fix."
Details on the cars are also collected - including whether or not the car is damaged, the exact pick-up location and date of violation expiry.
Police are also informed, in case a car is found to have been involved in a crime.
"In some cases, the vehicles are used in illegal operations," Mr Mustafa said. "If the car is involved in a crime, we leave it for the police to follow up."
Most abandoned vehicles are found in industrial areas such as Ras Al Khor, Al Qusais and Al Rashidiya. "We patrol five, and sometimes six days a week and, at times, we do get information from residents who report a vehicle to us," Mr Mustafa said.
Driving through the scrapyard, new vehicles can be seen alongside others that are badly damaged.
Once vehicles are removed and confiscated, the municipality waits for six months before placing the car on auction.
If the owner comes forward during that time, there is a Dh700 fine to retrieve it.