The Municipality of Abu Dhabi City (ADM) has warned those who dry their laundry in the balconies of penalties up to Dh1,000, in a statement issued on Tuesday. After conducting a three-day awareness and inspection campaign targeting Bani Yas, Mussafah business districts and Mohammed Bin Zayed City, the municipality said it would fine individuals who continue to hang laundry in street-facing balconies after they have received an official warning.
“The Municipality of Abu Dhabi City is confident of occupants’ cooperation and compliance with the proper standards of clotheslines and urges the public to adopt proper alternative modern laundry-drying techniques, such as electronic clothes driers and clothes-drying racks and avoiding hanging laundry over the balustrade directly overlooking the street,” said Khalifa Al Rumaithi, Director of Public Health at the municipality.
The municipality’s campaign has delivered 146 warnings to violators. The inspection teams have posted multi-lingual warnings next to building elevators notifying residents of the ban and also urged the building watchmen to point them out as tenants passed by.
“As the municipality appreciates the community’s contribution to stamp out this uncivilised activity, it confirms its clear-cut determination to move forward to eradicate all of the city’s disfiguring elements,” added Al Rumaithi.
Abu Dhabi’s apartment residents generally seem to be aware of the restriction on hanging laundry from balconies, although they tend to be surprised at the resulting penalties. “They gave notice in every room four or five months ago and some people were also given warnings,” says Mohammed Al Ameen, a contractor who stays in an Electra Street building that had laundry hanging from several balconies. He and most of his neighbours hang their clothes to dry inside their apartments, he said, even though he was unaware of the hefty fine awaiting violators.
Isabel, a nurse who resides in a Hamdan Street building with laundry-free balconies, says that she has only heard of the ban by word of mouth. “Many people in this building have dryers, but sometimes they hang their laundry outside at night,” she reveals. “Then they take it back inside early morning.” She was shocked to hear the amount they could be fined with for the infraction.
Many apartment-dwellers dry their clothes outdoors in a municipality-compliant manner, on drying racks and clotheslines positioned inside the balconies. Such methods are supposed to preserve a building’s façade, yet it can only be adopted by those who live in apartments with balconies. Newer buildings often have complete glass exteriors and though it is less common, residents still manage to hang laundry items out of the windows’ narrow openings.
In the past, Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Company, the emirate’s sole provider of these utilities, had encouraged air-drying laundry due to the high energy consumption associated with electric dryers. Company officials could not be reached for comment.