x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 29 July 2017

Remember the embers or face Dh500 fines, campers warned

The Dubai Municipality has announced that it will begin fining people who leave coals and charcoal behind at camping sites.

Fatima Nasser joined her fellow pupils from Selma Al Ansreyha School and some from two other schools in picking up litter from the desert area near Mushrif Park, Dubai yesterday. Jeff Topping / The National
Fatima Nasser joined her fellow pupils from Selma Al Ansreyha School and some from two other schools in picking up litter from the desert area near Mushrif Park, Dubai yesterday. Jeff Topping / The National

DUBAI // Campers who leave coals and charcoal from barbecues or shisha in the desert will be fined Dh500, the municipality has warned.

Speaking at the launch of a 10-day campaign to protect the environment, Suhail Al Awadi, the municipality's head of the Bur Dubai cleaning unit, said: "We will have our inspectors going to different camping areas once a day.

"We want them to dispose of the coals properly. We are also promoting the use of modern barbecuing techniques that don't require coal."

Inspectors will make surprise checks at popular campsites in Al Warqa, Al Amardi and other sandy spots off Emirates Road.

Mr Al Awadi said a team would be deployed to monitor campers, particularly on the weekends.

This is the municipality's first clampdown on irresponsible campers.

As part of its continuing drive, volunteers will distribute more than 150 sifting screens to campers in Al Warqa so they can separate the desert sand from the charcoal.

Mr Al Awadi said there was also a proposal to keep a database of campers in each area, beginning next year. Under this scheme, residents would have to pay a refundable deposit.

They would forfeit the money if they failed to leave the site clean, he said, adding that the proposal was still under consideration.

Yesterday, hundreds of schoolchildren and volunteers gathered at the municipality's tent in Al Warqa to pick up empty food containers, plastic bags, bottles and cans.

A nationwide desert clean-up campaign began last month in response to a call by Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, on Twitter.

"We are keen to support Sheikh Abdullah's call to clean up deserts," said Muna Harib, the founder of the volunteer group Seeds of Change. "People who are involved will think twice before littering. It is also an awareness campaign."

Nojoud Al Bastaki, an Emirati volunteer who regularly participates in clean-ups, said her efforts had paid off.

"When families see us cleaning up they ensure they don't leave behind any garbage," said Ms Al Bastaki.

"Deserts, beaches and mountains are our places where residents and tourists enjoy the natural beauty of the country.

"If we maintain them, it creates a good image."

 

pkannan@thenational.ae