x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

How kicking a ball or climbing a tree in Al Ain could cost you Dh200,000

10,000 brochures are distributed outlining prohibited acts, such as playing with litter or washing your car in the wrong area, that could earn you a fine of up to Dh200,000.

More than 10,000 brochures with guidelines on how to behave at parks, shops and mosques were distributed by Al Ain Municipality yesterday.

Matar Al Nuaimi, general director of the authority, said many residents had disputed fines and citations, claiming it was not clear that certain acts were not permitted.

The brochure was then compiled listing all illegal acts. The majority could result in a court date, and some incur fines up to Dh200,000.

While some of the banned behaviour is obvious, including playing with fire and picking flowers, other prohibited acts - such as "playing with a ball in a way that annoys others" or climbing trees - are not.

Ahmed Ismail, a 26-year-old Palestinian, said the ban on fire was confusing. "We always have barbecues at the park. I don't know if this means we cannot," he said.

Residents were also warned not to sleep in public or in mosques, or to pick dates from trees on the streets to sell or feed to animals. It is also illegal to spit on the street.

For health reasons, the municipality has said that people are not allowed to play with litter or wash their cars in non-designated areas.

Shopkeepers were told to keep their shops clean, list expiry dates on products and ensure signs were in working order.

Mona Baher, 30, said the rule on expiry dates was important. "So many items here do not say when their date of expiry is, which is worrying," she said.

Vendors cannot hassle consumers, particularly at the vegetable markets. Those who do are subject to prosecution.

Rola Saleh hopes these rules will be implemented effectively. "They just want to make a sale but the way they keep jumping out on you in the vegetable market makes you think twice before going back."

The rule brochures come as the municipality embarks on a Dh600 million project to construct new parks in Al Watat, modernise the freshwater channels, drainage system and sanitation, and to construct new parking bays, pavements and lighting.

According to Al Ittihad newspaper, the Arabic-language sister newspaper of The National, the municipality has started awarding infrastructure projects.

Seven parks will be constructed, with a total green area of 128,920 square metres. The environmentally friendly project also aims to ease traffic, and has been compared with the Shaab Al Ashkhar project, which was recently completed at a cost of Dh500m.

Ahmed Rashid Al Darmaki, project manager, said: "This is considered to be one of the important strategic projects of the municipality."

The project will include an internal road network spanning 40km in addition to pavements, pedestrian lanes and 80km of cycle tracks.

The municipality said: "[The works] still needs approvals from the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, which needs a time to announce it."