The Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning (MMUP) has launched a short online survey asking Qatar residents to weigh in on the effectiveness of its anti-littering campaign.
It’s been one year since signs went up around Qatar, warning passersby that “We all see you…You are not alone.”
The campaign initially caused confusion and concern among some residents, who interpreted the signs to mean they were being watched by the government, rather than a reminder to maintain public hygiene.
Some of the billboards around town have depicted a cartoon silhouette of a boy peeking out from behind a table, and another one of the boy peeking through a telescope.
The text on the billboards next to the cartoon boy says in Arabic and English, “We all see you/You are not alone.”
Other billboards depict the cartoon child next to litter on the street and on beaches, alongside slogans encouraging residents to refrain from throwing garbage and spitting in public.
The campaign is being supported by QatarGas, which has given QR3 million to fund the ads for three years. The company will also have a “supervisory and follow-up” role on the project, company spokesman Mansour Al Nouaimi told the Qatar Tribune last year.
In the survey, which is currently only in Arabic and consists of multiple-choice questions, respondents are asked to evaluate the concept of launching a major anti-littering campaign in Qatar; whether the campaign succeeded in raising the people’s awareness regarding public cleanliness; how far the campaign reached residents geographically; its artistic design; its content and issues; and what the campaign should focus on in the second phase.
Littering has continued to be a problem in many of Qatar’s public spaces, including beaches and parks.
While it is against the law to throw one’s trash on roads and other areas, the number of people fined for violating public hygiene laws appears to be declining – from 201 people in 2011 to 120 people in 2012.
The MMUP has previously said its focus for the “We all see you” campaign was not to punish people, but to raise awareness about the importance of keeping public places clean.
Still, last summer, the ministry announced that those who dump garbage at the roadside, on beaches or at other public places in Qatar risk incurring a fine of up to QR5,000.
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.
The MMUP has also set up an Office of Public Prosecution to deal with environmental and municipal violations, coinciding with the launch of the “We all see you” campaign.
Its jurisdiction includes laws governing public hygiene, food safety, smoking bans, animal welfare and water and energy conservation.