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Posted On: 2 August 2009 04:13 pm
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:09 pm

‘Phone souq’ bugged by dirty image

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Shopkeepers and customers alike are concerned by the worsening state of hygiene at the Souq Al Najada shopping complex, where large amounts of litter and debris are being strewn throughout the mall as well as the indoor car park and the surrounding area. The shopping centre caters primarily to mobile phone customers and is often referred to as the “phone souq.” But despite the fact that the souq is usually bustling with customers – especially expatriates who place such high importance on communication services to keep in touch with their families at home – cleaning services have been terminated at the shopping centre. A number of shopkeepers explained that although cleaning services had been brought in by the municipality at the start of the year following a Gulf Times report on the poor conditions there, these had stopped around three or four months ago. One shopkeeper claimed that cleaners had been in once in the past four months – some three weeks ago – but since then no-one has been in to perform any cleaning work at all. “We would like to see the cleaners come back,” said the perturbed shopkeeper, “it is up to the municipality to provide the cleaning company, but I think we need them here – it is very dirty right now.” Someone has obviously been making an effort to make the area more presentable by sweeping the rubbish scattered around the mall into corners near its numerous entrances. Although this means that the areas directly surrounding the individual shops themselves are cleared of litter, it also means that customers are confronted by an unpleasant sight upon entering the mall. Yesterday Gulf Times visited the mall to find that the doorways were nothing less than large rubbish receptacles, and one tiled seating area was overflowing with all kinds of rubbish. Perhaps the most noticeable type of rubbish on display is the huge amount of aluminium drink cans that have been thrown to the ground both inside the shopping mall and the surrounding area. But there is a large selection of various types of debris and it is something that both shopkeepers and customers are concerned about, and something they would like to see resolved. One customer shopping in the centre yesterday said: “It’s not very nice to see such a large amount of rubbish left on the floor around here – it makes the place look dirty and badly maintained which is not a good image.” “I’m sure people will continue to come and shop here for their phone needs, but the shopping centre could be so much more appealing to other customers if they did some work,” he added. But the problems with litter and general untidiness are by no means restricted to inside the Najada shopping complex as the surrounding area is peppered with numerous items of rubbish which also needs to be addressed. The souq’s car park is equally unclean, with puddles of dirty water which has been used to wash cars, and a large amount of litter, combining to produce a pungent and unpleasant smell in the already oppressive atmosphere of an underground car park.