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Sharjah’s hanging you out to dry
Sharjah cracks down on residents hanging clothes on balconies.
July 20, 2011 1:20 by Eva Fernandes
Yesterday, Sharjah authorities announced that they had fined 3753 residents since January for hanging the clothes and satellite dishes out in their balconies. Kipp has mixed feelings about this and we’re sure a lot of you do too.
The ban against balcony air-drying your clothes and the public display of your satellite dishes is actually ten years old. It was introduced in 2000 but it was only last year that they started fining people and then this year they started full-fledged fining.
The ban is not only followed in Sharjah and Abu Dhabi but also in Ajman, which has enacted a similar ban (even though residents there seem brazen and clothes are still visible on many towers).These “law-breaking offenders” will have to pay a fine of AED250 within the week or face it being doubled to AED500. Poor fools who leave their satellite dishes hanging about on their balconies while away on summer vacation…
Apparently this is all part of some huge campaign on behalf of the municipality to improve the image of Sharjah and the officers have not only been advertising this on the radio, TV and in newspapers but have also been handing out fliers in four different languages (Hindi, English, Arabic and Farsi). In the meantime, most people in the communities seem to remain blissfully unaware of the law.
Why the ban, you ask? Well, it’s for aesthetic value if you must know. The natural beauty of the building and the city in general just gets destroyed when clothes are hung out in plain sight. The fines have been introduced to maintain civilized appearances and retain the beauty of the city.
While Kipp thinks balconies are part of a residents private space, we do raise our eyebrows at some people who sometimes also hang their, shall we say, intimate clothing out to dry, proving to be a very ugly sight indeed.
Architects and developers who find these buildings almost sacred often get irked when they see such sights but they aren’t the only ones. Some residents in Dubai feel that the emirate should follow in Sharjah’s footsteps and enact the same ban and fines.
In case you were wondering, a decent indoor dryer costs about $750. Just don’t come back to us about where you’re going to find the space in your house to put that extra dryer.
Inspections in Sharjah are now being carried out on a regular basis and fines are being handed out to the “law-breakers” on a large scale. But the question is should the people be fined or should the developers who have not provided proper laundry rooms and drying space to their residents be fined?
For the sake of aesthetics or not, the fines will become a good source of extra revenue (to be used for public betterment, of course). While it did take a decade for the law to be fully enforced, will this mean a possibility of soon enforcing laws against littering, vandalism and graffiti?