Families call for an end to rubbish piles

Partygoers are leaving the streets of Dubai strewn with litter but it is residents who have to deal with the mess.

DUBAI-OCTOBER 15,2008 - Pile of uncollected garbage spilling on the floor at Al Muteena in Deira. Dubai. ( Paulo Vecina/The National ) *** Local Caption ***  PV Trash 4.JPG
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DUBAI // Partygoers are leaving the streets of Dubai strewn with litter but it is local residents who wake up next morning with the headache of having to face the mess. Families in Deira, an area flooded with cafeterias, hotels, restaurants and clubs, complain their litter bins are overflowing and rubbish is piling up on pavements as street cleaners fail to cope.

Beverage cans, bottles, tissue papers and other waste litter the streets each morning, they say. The blame is placed on people who visit the area for a night out. "Every Friday morning we see roads that are littered with all kinds of waste after the night's party," said Samir Basheer, a Deira resident. "Many also throw everything on street corners and outside garbage bins that are already spilling over."

Rubbish is also seen on weekdays outside the area's cafeterias and restaurants, and families are now anxious it could pose a health hazard. Areas such as Al Muteena, Naif, Hor Al Anz and Al Rigga are the worst affected. These areas have a high density of food outlets close to homes and apartments. "The dirtiness and stench from these places are now a serious problem for all families living here," said Sabu Cherian, a resident of Al Muteena.

"I think cafeterias and restaurant owners just dump the waste outside garbage bins without thinking of disposing of it properly for the sake of nearby residents." Restaurant and cafeteria owners claim there are simply not enough rubbish bins. "It is a struggle each night to find an empty bin to dump the garbage," said a restaurant worker. "The number of people living here is increasing and everyone is dumping in these garbage bins. So, often we have no choice but to throw the garbage outside."

Dubai Municipality statistics show it has more than 20,000 rubbish bins across the city. Officials from the waste management section said they were aware of the problem but added that restaurants and hotels had already been provided separate rubbish containers. "We conduct regular inspections and establishments that do not dispose of their waste appropriately face the risk of cancellation of their trade licence," said an official. He added that the municipality was also offering cafeterias a service to collect their waste. "Our garbage collection trucks collect rubbish from such cafeterias so that waste disposal is done properly," he said.

Naif has recently been the focus of a campaign by the municipality to curb the growing problem of litter, especially in crowded areas of the city. The month-long campaign, called Say Yes to a Clean Naif, is intended to alert the public to the health risks caused by rotting rubbish. It is also targeting spitting in the street. The municipality is to extend the initiative to all parts of Deira. "We will address the issue of littering, especially in hotels, cafes and restaurants," said the official. The awareness campaign, which includes street shows and other activities, will continue until Nov 13.

"We hope the campaign will succeed in reducing the littering. Afterwards we will think of what other steps could be taken to stop this phenomena," said the official. @Email:pmenon@thenational.ae