Those who dump garbage at the roadside, on beaches or other public places in Qatar risk incurring a fine of up to QR5,000 ($1,370), a senior official from the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning (MMUP) has warned.
Urinating or defecating in public could also evoke the same steep fine. Meanwhile, anyone caught spitting or dropping paper tissues in public continues to face a penalty of QR200 ($55).
The MMUP’s legal advisor to the minister, Dr. Ahmed Abu Mustafa, highlighted the penalties that could be imposed on people who break the law during a recent lecture for public hygiene inspectors.
The reminder could signify that the MMUP is taking a stronger line against those who violate Qatar’s Law No. 8 of 1974 on Public Hygiene.
Earlier this year, the Baladiya had launched a cleanliness campaign called “We All See You: You Are Not Alone,” with posters and billboards erected around Doha warning people not to litter or spit in public.
At the time of the launch, the MMUP said its focus was not on fines, but to raise awareness of the importance of keeping public places clean and tidy.
In addition to the hefty fine for dumping waste and garbage and soiling public places, Qatar Tribune reports Abu Mustafa as saying that those who leave garbage bags outside their homes, rather than disposing of them in bins, could incur a QR100 fine.
General littering can attract a fine of QR500.
Repeat offenders or those who do not pay their fines risk legal action being taken against them, which could involve up to one month in jail and fines of as much as QR10,000.
Despite the reminders, how strictly the public hygiene laws will be enforced remains to be seen.
In recent years, the number of people fined for violating public hygiene laws has declined – from 201 people in 2011 to 120 people in 2012.
The MMUP could not immediately be reached for comment to confirm if it would deploy more inspectors in public places as part of a crackdown.
However, it has been using Twitter to reinforce its messages:
#WeAllSeeYou is a campaign to raise awareness about littering, spitting on the roads and disposing the waste in public places. #Qatar
— Baladiya (@Baladiya1) June 16, 2014
Violation: Throwing the paper Handkerchiefs or garbage or spitting on sidewalks or roads or public places. Penalty: 200 QR #WeAllSeeYou
— Baladiya (@Baladiya1) June 16, 2014
Meanwhile, residents can order extra household bins online, through Baladiya’s website:
The responsible disposal of garbage in Qatar is a hot topic, as residents regularly complain about rubbish strewn across beaches, the desert, parks and roadways.
Last month, hundreds of people came together to undertake a cleanup of Al Thakira mangroves near Al Khor, removing two truck loads of garbage from the ecologically sensitive site.
Qatar has one of the highest per capita rates of waste generation in the Gulf. Some 871,000 tons of domestic waste were produced in 2012, up 7 percent from 2011, according to Ministry of Environment figures.
International waste management expert Geoffrey Piggott ascribed this to Qatar’s affluent lifestyle, a lack of packaging laws and limited awareness of practices such as waste minimization and recycling.
Is this going to be like the traffic fines where some people have lots of them that they never pay?
It will be as heavily enforced as traffic law I presume….
I think the fine for opening your car door at traffic lights, gurgling and then doing a huge spit on the ground so everyone can see should be at least 2000 QR.
Can I ignorantly ask what the big deal is with spitting? I know it’s unsightly, but in this desert climate it evaporates in like 20 seconds. Is there something in the Quran that forbids it? On my last trip to KSA I asked my Saudi Muslim friends this question. They said they couldn’t recall a specific quote about spitting, but more general guidelines about the importance of personal cleanliness. Seems like every other one of those yellow signs is about spitting, so I just wondered what the major heartache was with it in Qatar. Anyone know?
Spitting has public health implications. It’s a surefire way to spread infectious and communicable diseases. Although Qatar screens for some of these diseases upon entry (residency medical), for example, tuberculosis, it is not uncommon for someone to return infected after a visit to their home country.
How does it have health implications unless people go around licking someone else’s spit in the 20 seconds before it dries? Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s gross too. I just see a lot more offensive and potentially dangerous stuff on a regular basis that isn’t so vociferously outlawed.
It’s good that you can apply online for garbage bins. Can we do the same for recycling (paper/plastic/cans/organic waste) as well?
hahaha good one recycle..hahah..very funny… recycle is throwing it back to the earth where it ultimately came from , thats the mentality…
Would it not be a better idea and more advisable if first the authorities build some clean and decent washrooms and toilet facilities around the public places, bus stations, corniche, souks, parks, etc.. where people gather before going about imposing fines and penalties.. Like the bus station for example where thousands of people pass through every day and there does not seem to be a decent washroom or toilet in sight.