x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Sharjah targets illegal dumping with a clean-up and zero tolerance

Wrecked vehicles and rubbish in the emirate's industrial area are obstructing traffic and creating concerns about public health.

SHARJAH // The municipality is moving to rid its industrial areas of garbage and other refuse that authorities describe as an eyesore and a threat to public health. The problem is evident in piles of garbage, wrecked vehicles and discarded vehicle parts that in some instances are obstructing road traffic. To discourage new dumping, a zero-tolerance law enforcement approach will be used, the municipality has said.

The municipality plans to deploy inspectors to spot rubbish and issue warning letters to companies that fail to keep their premises clean, said Sultan al Mualla, the municipality's director general. "What's needed is for the people who live and work in this area to decide to stop dropping litter, dispose off all garbage and start to report violators whenever seen," he said. People can call 993 to report cases of littering.

He said many garages and companies that operated heavy machinery were guilty of dumping their scrap material illegally. "If you continue to act in this antisocial way, you will be caught and fined," he said. The municipality also hopes that the cleanup will work against illegal dumping through psychology: boosting residents' civic pride and inducing them to dispose of their trash properly. A private company, Beeah, has been responsible for garbage disposal in Sharjah. Although the company has distributed garbage receptacles along many roads in the emirate, some residents do not bother to use them.

Ausi al Mursi, an Egyptian working in a garage near National Paints, said he had seen rats and insects running out of a scrap depot that was gutted by fire late last month. Illegal rubbish dumping is said to be especially common in Al Qarayan, an area near University City, with an attendant infestation of rats and mice. Mouza Abdullah, 30, a Palestinian living in the area, said he complained several times to the municipality about the problem but had received no response.

When told of the imminent clean-up of the industrial zones, he was hopeful that the problem would finally be solved. ykakande@thenational.ae