A CRACKDOWN on spitting and urinating in Manama has failed, according to councillors.
An awareness campaign was launched four years ago in a bid to stamp out the "disgusting" acts, but officials have reportedly found it difficult to change people's attitude.
This is despite the fact offenders have been warned they could face arrest and prosecution during a series of programmes at Asian clubs and societies.
"It is taking long to raise awareness amongst the Asian community in Manama because most are illiterate and their numbers reach 100,000," said council vice-chairman Mohammed Mansoor.
"Four years and Asians still continue spitting and urinating in the street and if we really wanted to take action then more than half would be in jail and this I feel is ridiculous.
"The offences are serious, but it shows that we are not putting the message across as we should," he said.
"We want a cleaner Manama, but we have to understand that most of those Asians come from different backgrounds and use different languages and we have to reach all before any action is taken."
Mr Mansoor said a zero-tolerance approach to the offences was supposed to have begun in May 2010, but never got underway.
"The new council came to power in November 2010 and since we have been handling this issue and looking into what have been done," he said.
"I feel the awareness campaign is a failure and for that we can't go on to the zero-tolerance phase.
"Yes the council has received many complaints from Bahrainis and expatriates about these acts with demands for action."
Mr Mansoor said the offenders would be prosecuted, but said the awareness campaign should be assessed first.
"After assessment we will relaunch the scheme with different methods in the hope that we will get the message across."
Mr Mansoor said people caught urinating and spitting in the street told municipal officials they could not find a public toilet.
"Their excuses are right in a way considering that the Old Manama Suq still doesn't have public toilets, but that doesn't mean that shops, restaurants, malls and mosques in the area don't do," he said."I didn't see anyone being disallowed from using any private toilet, but the government has to accelerate moves to build public toilets to bring an end to those excuses.
"The problem is that even if we have 100 public toilets in Manama, unhygienic acts will continue, if those behind them don't believe that cleanliness is by far better on a personal or social basis."