x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Sharjah clamps down on illegal advertisers

For years residents have complained about illegal flyers, and the piles of rubbish they create. Anyone caught posting flyers and business cards are now being warned on arrests and fines.

Sharjah Municipality has begun a campaign against illegal flyers and advertisements that have become a problem.Photo courtesy Sharjah Police
Sharjah Municipality has begun a campaign against illegal flyers and advertisements that have become a problem.Photo courtesy Sharjah Police

SHARJAH // Advertising posters, brochures and stickers that clutter up streets, buildings and even car windscreens will soon be a thing of the past.

In an emirate-wide crackdown, anyone caught posting business cards or flyers will be arrested while the companies they advertise can face fines of up to Dh2,000 and even closure.

“People simply dump these advertising materials anywhere, causing inconvenience to the public and distorting the image of the city,” said Col Jihad Saeed Bin Sahoo of Sharjah Police.

For years residents have complained about illegal flyers advertising everything from part-time maids to pest control firms, and the piles of rubbish they create. The problem was recently brought to the attention of Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qassimi, the emirate’s ruler, during his regular radio talk show. He instructed the police and municipality to take action.

Officers have already started to make arrests, with 12 people from Asian and African countries taken into custody recently after they were spotted putting up stickers and brochures.

They have been referred to prosecutors after it was discovered they were in the country illegally.

“We are continuing with more arrests,” said Col Bin Sahoo.

Ali Mohammed, who lives in Abu Shagara, removes cards and leaflets from his apartment building’s entrance each day, dumping dozens in the bin each week.

“I always simply sweep all of them away without even reading any,” he said “Many people do like me, so there is no advertising achieved.”

Sharjah Municipality is “sparing no effort” to ensure the clampdown is successful, said Nada Al Suwaidi, the director of corporate communications at the municipality.

“We are curbing the illegal phenomenon of posting advert papers everywhere in streets and also on bridges, tunnels and lights poles.

“We get several calls on the municipality’s toll free number every day with complaints of this illegal dumping, and we always respond and investigate the information given in these calls,” she said.

Ms Al Suwaidi said the municipality was keen to protect the aesthetic image of the emirate and maintain public hygiene.

“Companies resorting to this illegal advertisement dumping will be fined Dh2,000 and in case of a repeat of the offence the company would be referred to the Department of Economic Planning for closure.”

Residents said they were also concerned the people behind the adverts, particularly those for pest control services or even massage parlours and salons, were not abiding by health and safety as well as environmental rules.

"Most of these adverts are promoting goods and services that have not been inspected and authorised and could cause several health risks and be a nuisance to the emirate’s social norms,” said Azzah Mohammed, who lives in the Al Majjaz neighbourhood.

Maj Gen Humaid Mohammed Al Hudaidi, the commander in chief of Sharjah Police, said officers have stepped up patrols in residential areas as part of the clampdown and called on members of the public to report anyone seen flyering on the free number 800151 or 06 5632222.

ykakande@thenational.ae