To help keep some of its popular camp sites and beaches free of negligent waste, the United Arab Emirates city of Dubai has announced it will soon use an army of drones to help catch people in the act of littering. Officially organized by the Dubai Municipality’s Waste Management Department, the initiative is part of the city’s efforts to improve its “smart services” and to keep in line with what’s employ in other major international cities. As of now, the department has only purchased and deployed one litterbug-finding drone but says the lone UAV is already providing positive returns.
When the Waste Management Department first decided to use city-monitoring drones, it intended to only utilize them around landfill sites at Al Ghusais, Jebel Ali, and Al Warsan because of a UAV’s inherent ability to navigate to places humans simply can’t reach. However, after seeing how beneficial the drone’s could be in monitoring landfill sites for the city, it decided to expand their role and plans on putting them to use by sending them out over the city’s popular beach and desert destinations.
— Dubai Media Office (@DXBMediaOffice) April 4, 2016
“As the good weather is expected to stay for at least another month, we expect a lot of people to camp in the desert until the end of April, and also to set up barbecues at the beach,” says Waste Management Department director Abdul Majeed Al Saifaie to Gulf News this week. “The main beneficial factor is the amount of time these drones can save. Instead of having municipality inspectors driving across the city, the drones will be able to fly directly to a number of different locations within a short time, and provide us with data and high-resolution photographs.”
According to Al Saifaie, the drone’s don’t just plan to observe those setting up at beaches and deserts but it will also be on the lookout for trucks which dump waste illegally. Considering Dubai’s incredibly strict punishment for littering of any kind (including spitting), it’s expected the city will also dole out harsh discipline for those caught red-handed by an anti-litter drone. So next time you find yourself wandering near Jumeirah Beach, perhaps keep that empty bag of chips in your pocket instead of throwing it on the ground.