AJMAN // Fines for damaging or cutting down trees in Ajman have doubled to as much as Dh10,000.
Municipal officials said the new fines start at Dh1,000, whereas they used to start at Dh500 and top out at Dh5,000.
The move, which took effect yesterday, is meant to stop desertification.
"All categories of trees prevalent in Ajman are listed under this new regulation and it now becomes a serious offence to tamper with any tree," said Ahmed Seif Al Muhairi, director general of the municipality's agriculture and public parks department.
Construction companies were singled out as the biggest violators. Mr Al Muhairi warned companies not to allow their workers to tamper with trees in neighbourhoods or on roads.
A company that is found to have damaged a tree at a work site will be fined Dh10,000, but the fine for individuals is Dh1,000.
The government has made a large investment in growing and maintaining trees, Mr Al Muhairi noted.
"We are now cultivating about 60 trees in the Al Zorah area and we shall be increasing on these numbers in the area, which is to be a big investment and tourist hub in the emirate," he said.
The municipality last year began a campaign to plant 30,000 palm trees in the emirate. The campaign also encourages individuals to plant more trees at their homes.