Garbage dumping in Qatar could prompt QR5,000 fine

Garbage

Dan A'Vard/Flickr

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.

We All See You

Nat High

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.

Law enforcement

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:

Meanwhile, residents can order extra household bins online, through Baladiya’s website:

Public littering

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.

Baladiya pic

Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning/Twitter

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.

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