x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Brochures in taxis to warn drivers and passengers of littering fines

8,000 brochures given to drivers in the capital.

ABU DHABI // Public health chiefs have distributed 8,000 brochures to taxi drivers in the capital warning that people who spit or throw rubbish in the street will be fined.

The effort to inform drivers and passengers of the fines is part of an anti-litter campaign launched last year, said Khaleefa Al Romaithi, director of the municipality's public health department.

"It's going very well, very well," Mr Al Romaithi said.

The department has printed about 50,000 leaflets in Arabic, English, Urdu and Bengali, listing the penalties for littering.

"Help us keep the streets of Abu Dhabi civilised, clean and litter-free by refraining from some bad habits like dropping cigarette butts, spitting and spitting gum in the streets," the pamphlets urge. "Offenders will be fined on the spot."

Municipality officials began the campaign in November by distributing the brochures to labourers in Mussafah. In December, they started distributing brochures at the airport to workers arriving in the country and to taxi drivers. In the new year, the campaign will expand to other residents and tourists.

The fines are not new. The municipality's 125 public health inspectors may levy Dh100 fines on people who spit in public, Dh200 on those who throw cigarette butts on the ground and Dh500 to people who discard chewing gum or other rubbish in the street.

Some residents and visitors are unaware of the law, though Mr Al Romaithi said that every taxi driver in Abu Dhabi should now have a brochure inside their vehicle.

He does not expect littering to stop completely, but says the campaign will help to reduce the problem.

"We expect that within three or four months, it will go down."

vnereim@thenational.ae