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Qatari litterbugs look out!
The Qatari government is cracking down on litterbugs in a new initiative starting today, in which municipal inspectors will start catching culprits, issuing warnings and meting out punishments - which can, in the most severe cases, include a jail term.
For less offensive littering, the penalties will be from QR300 to QR6,000 (c.£58 - £1164) depending upon the severity of the violation and the damage caused. Prison terms will range from six months' and a penalty fine not exceeding QR10,000 (£1941), to one year and a penalty fine not exceeding QR25,000 (£4,851).
A working team comprising members from the environmental affairs sections of the various municipalities and the Ministry's legal affairs department, is being led by Safar Al Shafi (pictured), director of the general cleanliness department at the Ministry of Municipality & Environment. They have been tasked with preparing draft executive regulations for public hygiene law and draft ministerial decisions for its implementation, as well as coordinating and communicating with the municipalities and authorities concerned with implementing the legislation.
As a precursor to the litter crackdown, the Ministry of Municipality & Environment held a workshop on 'Judicial Power in the Field of Public Hygiene' last month. This was attended by heads of the monitoring and cleanliness departments from all municipalities. The workshop aimed to educate participants about public hygiene legislation and to improve their skills and provide them with the necessary legal knowledge in the field of general monitoring.
A number of topics were discussed during the workshop, including the feasibility of inviting private sector organisations to collect and recycle the waste, and regulations for transporting waste, specifying its route and timings.
The forms for booking violations, issuing warnings and undertakings were also revised to accommodate the new legislation, as were the procedures for catching litterlouts. The inspectors were also educated about fines and reconciliation sums and were taken on field visits to work sites, so they could have practical instruction on the types of violations and the relevant fines for each.
The Ministry has prepared a media campaign and a comprehensive awareness programme to educate people through print, electronic media and social networking sites in a bid to raise awareness amongst the public, as they have an important role in maintaining public hygiene in the cities and to protect the environment.
Speaking on the implementation of new public hygiene law, Safar Al Shafi said that the promulgation of Law No. 18 of 2017 on Public Hygiene & Cleaning has been enacted in a timely manner.
"There is an all-inclusive and unparalleled constructional and developmental renaissance in the country, which requires amending the law - including public hygiene and cleaning services and environmental health," he said, adding that the new law has much in common with the objectives of the previous law.
"Accordingly, one may say that the new law is more comprehensive and largely fulfills the developments of the current and future eras, as well as the behavioural changes usually taking place within the context of social mobility due to the demographic, economic and cultural variables and the different cultures adopted by the segments of society in Qatar.
"The Law also assists in eliminating the additional efforts of the Public Cleanliness Department due to the continuous cleaning of the wastes which are thrown away in a random, irresponsible and illegal manner."
He pointed out that the new law is strict in addressing the violations which impede the provision of public hygiene services on a round-the-clock basis.
"This is manifested in applying its provisions which range between imprisonment, levying fines or both penalties as set out in Article No. 15 of the law," he warned. "There are violations where conciliation is strictly prohibited."
He said that the legislation is designed to assist inspectors in their work and is aimed at achieving set hygiene objectives for Qatar's residential areas. He added that it is the result of hard work and a long study by specialists at the Ministry of Municipality & Environment in a bid to achieve Qatar National Vision 2030 under the directive of H E Mohamad bin Abdullah Al Rumaihi, Minister of Municipality & Environment.
1st February 2018