Qatar residents ticketed for throwing trash out of their cars could be blocked from renewing their vehicle road permits (istimara) until they pay a QR1,000 fine, according to a senior government figure.
Civic inspectors have been ordered to photograph offenders and to forward the evidence to the Ministry of Interior‘s Traffic Department, in a bid to stamp out the unhygienic practice.
Ali Nasser Al Hajri, head of the public monitoring section at the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning (MMUP), said fines of QR1,000 would be imposed on those caught breaking the law, according to the Peninsula.
Classified as a traffic violation, the fine would need to be paid before the Traffic Department would authorize the annual renewal of the vehicle’s license.
The new measure is part of a cleanliness campaign called “We All See You: You Are Not Alone” that launched in March last year.
Since then, posters and billboards have gone up around Doha warning people not to litter or spit in public.
When it first launched, the MMUP said its focus was not on fines, but to raise awareness about the importance of keeping public places clean and tidy.
However, since then, senior officials have announced several tough penalties for those who violate Qatar’s public hygiene law.
That includes a steeper fine for those caught littering generally (QR200), or dumping bags of rubbish on the street or in public places (QR500).
The new fines were instituted after the ministry issued last summer that residents dumping garbage at the roadside, on beaches or at other public places in Qatar risk incurring a fine of up to QR5,000.
Coinciding with the launch of the “We all see you” campaign, the MMUP also set up an Office of Public Prosecution to deal with environmental and municipal violations.
Its remit includes laws governing public hygiene, food safety, smoking bans, animal welfare and water and energy conservation.
The office can impose further legal procedures and the person could face imprisonment up to one month and fines of QR500 to QR10,000 or both.
To remind residents of these laws, the Baladiya often posts messages on Twitter:
— Baladiya (@Baladiya1) December 27, 2014
But questions remain over how strictly government hygiene initiatives are enforced, and whether the new measures will deter litterbugs.