x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Unlicensed adverts and posters to be purged from the streets

Umm al Qaiwain Municipality is to purge its streets of illegal advertisements and posters in the coming days.

Umm al Qaiwain Municipality is to purge its streets of illegal advertisements and posters. In the coming days all adverts posted on places of worship, fences, electricity poles, traffic lights and trees, in parks and on buildings and on roadsides will be removed unless they have been previously approved by the municipality, said Dr Misbah Humaid, its director general. To be approved, a poster must have been prepared by a professional advertiser and licensed by the municipality.

Advertisers must also have obtained written permission from landlords before putting them up on buildings. "The many paper adverts are making our city dirty," said Dr Humaid. "We cannot continue looking like this. We are moving ahead and we need to make our city clean." Officials said the municipality had received a surge of complaints from residents about advertisements defacing people's homes, doorways and public property.

Mubarak Ahmed, the deputy director of the municipality, said the campaign was also an attempt to prevent misleading advertisements, particularly those targeting job seekers. "We have recently received several complaints from residents about people being cheated by posted advertisements," he added. The reaction to the purge among members of the business community was mixed. Mohammed al Mansouri, a property dealer in the emirate, believed the move would push advertisement costs too high, particularly as the emirate was already short of professional calligraphers.

"I think it will create a sort of monopoly in the business," he said. But a grocery shop owner said he was very much in favour of the action, as the advertising posters made his premises look messy. "I want the municipality to come and read all those numbers of advertisers and arrest them," he said. Last year Ras al Khaimah launched a similar campaign. Apart from restricting where adverts can be displayed, it also targeted adverts that were inconsistent with Islam and Emirati culture or contained incorrect use of Arabic.

Officials would not say whether the Umm al Qaiwain campaign would target similar adverts. ykakande@thenational.ae