Browsing 'MME' News

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Graffiti in Qatar

A new dramatic video is urging Qatar residents to keep the country clean by refraining from spray-painting absurd or offensive messages and images in public spaces.

This week, Qatar’s Ministry of Municipality and Environment (MME) launched an awareness drive about the “uncivilized behavior.”

On Twitter, the ministry said “Writing on walls is prohibited and against our moral and traditional values.”

It showed a brief video of a boy spray-painting a wall, who then finds himself covered in the black paint he was using to deface property.

“You mar your country, you mar yourself,” the video warns.

Legal graffiti

Not all graffiti in Qatar is illegal.

The government appears to be discouraging residents from marking up walls and other property without permission.

Chantelle d'Mello / Doha News

Art installation at Qatar Academy

This is different from sanctioned graffiti projects by artists, such as el Seed’s murals on Salwa Road and artwork painted by students at Qatar Foundation.

Do you think graffiti is a problem in Qatar? Thoughts?

April Younglove / Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Reacting to avian flu outbreaks in other countries, Qatar has begun cracking down on live bird imports and exports.

According to Al Raya, a temporary ban has been placed on this type of animal.

A source at the Ministry of Municipality and Environment (MME) told the newspaper that the ban also applies to some fresh poultry and eggs.

Pietro Izzo / Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

In the past few weeks, different strains of the bird flu virus have emerged in France, South Korea, India, the UK and many other nations.

In some countries, birds got sick and died of the flu, while in others, humans contracted the virus and grew ill or died.

Elsewhere in the Gulf, Saudi Arabia has in the past 10 days banned chickens and eggs from India, parts of France and Poland over bird flu concerns.

Safety first

The MME source told Al Raya that all poultry products currently inside of Qatar are safe and subject to rigorous inspection.

These imports cannot pass through Qatar’s ports of entry without certification from their home country that they are free of infectious diseases, he added.

William Brawley/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Veterinarians are also keeping tabs on geese, ostriches and other birds at local farms.

A few months ago in October, the MME said it was taking “precautionary measures” to protect residents against the spread of bird flu.

The virus can cause fever, malaise, cough, sore throat, muscle aches, abdominal pain, chest pain and diarrhea. These can then develop quickly and cause severe respiratory problems.

In a statement last week, the World Health Organization said:

“WHO advises that travelers to countries with known outbreaks of avian influenza should avoid, if possible, poultry farms, contact with animals in live bird markets, entering areas where poultry may be slaughtered, or contact with any surfaces that appear to be contaminated with feces from poultry or other animals.

Travelers should also wash their hands often with soap and water, and follow good food safety and good food hygiene practices.”

Thoughts?

Matthew Smith/Wikimedia

Damas tree

The Damas tree, a common plant whose complex roots damage underground water pipes, can no longer be imported, sold or planted in Qatar, officials have said.

According to local media reports, the Ministry of Municipality and Environment (MME) has asked nurseries to stop bringing the Conocarpus lancifolius trees into the country.

The fast-growing plants can tolerate heat, drought and salty soil, and are commonly used in landscaping across the Gulf region.

Ulf Mehlig/Wikimedia

Damas plant

But the MME’s Public Parks Department said the Damas trees are strangling underground pipes and choking drains with their roots.

Regional ‘menace’

The Damas tree has many redeeming qualities, including its low cost, but authorities across the GCC have been railing against it for years.

In 2012 for example, developer Emaar launched a “Say no to Damas” campaign after the trees began cracking walls of compounds and damaging homes.

At the time, a Saudi newspaper called the tree a “menace” despite its ability to provide shade and act like a privacy fence between neighbors.

It is likely that in Qatar, the plant will not disappear completely.

According to the Peninsula, the MME said it will make certain exceptions for people buying through ministry nurseries.

Thoughts?