x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Dubai clean-up drive nets cars

Nearly 40 abandoned vehicles caked in dust were towed away in the first two days of a municipality-led clean-up.

Abandoned cars have picked up a mythic quality, telling part of the story of residents who have lost jobs in the downturn give them up because they can no longer afford to pay for them.
Abandoned cars have picked up a mythic quality, telling part of the story of residents who have lost jobs in the downturn give them up because they can no longer afford to pay for them.

DUBAI // Nearly 40 abandoned vehicles caked in dust were towed away in the first two days of a municipality-led clean-up that has targeted everything from washing machines to furniture. The vehicles were seized as "a symbolic gesture to drive home the message of a clean and green city", Hassan Makki, the director of waste management, said yesterday.

The effort was part of The Clean Up the World Campaign, involving more than 7,900 volunteers, including pupils from 48 state schools and the staff of 197 companies. Mr Makki said 35 companies had lent machinery for towing the cars, and municipality workers will be looking to tow more vehicles today. Meanwhile volunteers found 60 pieces of large waste including washing machines and refrigerators throughout the city.

In all, they collected 1,850 tonnes of waste in the first two days of the four-day campaign, which ends tomorrow. Abandoned cars have picked up a mythic quality, telling part of the story of residents who have lost jobs in the downturn give them up because they can no longer afford to pay for them. Yaqoob Mohammed al Ali, the chief Dubai co-ordinator of the Clean Up the World Campaign 2009, said the towed vehicles were taken to the municipality's scrapyard.

"When we spot an abandoned vehicle, we first put a warning notice on it after 15 days," he said. "The car is removed only almost one and a half months later." The municipality seeks clearance from the police to check if the vehicle is the subject of any cases or complaints. "Once we get a clearance, we put it on the schedule to remove it," said Mr al Ali. A senior traffic police officer said the department tipped the municipality to cars that had been abandoned or had missing registration plates.

"If we see a car that looks like it has been abandoned or left in the same place for three or four months, we will leave a note on the car," he said. "We leave two more notes before we contact the municipality." The local campaign runs later than in the rest of the world because of Dubai's weather conditions. Mr Makki said it was aimed at raising awareness about the significance of environmental protection.

Tomorrow, thousands of people are due to take part in cleaning up Nadd al Sheba. newsdesk@thenational.ae