By Mudassir Raja
Pollution is an international issue as the world is trying to ward off the effects of climate change. At the same time, the experts are taking up different measures to address the reasons of the climate change.
Besides the government and its initiatives, it is the obligation of every individual to curtail the pollution and then carry out clean-up activities. In this connection, both the government of Qatar and the residents have been showing great interest in raising awareness and cleaning the beaches and desert.
Doha Environmental Action Project (DEAP) is one such group that has been active in Qatar for about two years in carrying out clean-up drives on every weekend now. DEAP is a team of volunteers, who are leading the beach clean-up movement in Qatar. The group members take it as their responsibility to fight against the plastic pollution in Qatar and to keep their country clean and safe. Besides organising beach and sand dune clean-ups, DEAP actively participates in school presentations as part of their efforts to educate youth about plastic pollution and what they can do to help mitigate the problems.
Recently, the volunteers of DEAP cleaned up a small mangrove and beach area close to Al Khor. It was the 83rd beach clean-up by DEAP volunteers in Qatar. Over 70 volunteers of driftnet ages and origins gathered to clean the mangrove. As a result of their clean-up efforts, the team of volunteers managed to remove about 1,000 kilograms of trash from the mangrove and the beach, including 15 tires of different sizes.
Talking to Community, Jose Saucedo, Director of DEAP, said, “We have completed 83 clean-ups to date and has taken over 3,500 volunteers on these drives. During these cleanups, they have collected more than 45,000kg of trash. DEAP has a pool of volunteers from all over the world, and every Friday they get together for cleanups. It is a fun, family and kid friendly organisation that allows people to discover Qatar with a purpose.
“The government has been taking different necessary measures to keep the country clean. The government also helps us in transporting the garbage and trash we collect from different places. However, it is the responsibility of every resident and native to do their share in cleaning the far off area of the country.”
Jose, a US national working in food and manufacturing industry, added, “During the Al Khor clean-up, we were very fortunate to have Torba Farmers Market people joining us. The Torba Farmers Market is actively taking steps to eliminate the use of plastics that are littering and polluting the oceans all over the world. For this clean-up activity, we had more local support as we went far away from Doha to clean the beach. The exercise was also interested as the clean mangroves can be a place for natural habitat of wildlife.
“I joined the group some 11 months ago after I came to know about its positive activities. DEAP’s mission is to restore the natural beauty of the beaches and sand dunes in Qatar and to promote Qatar’s natural landscapes. I will ask people to support us continue our quest to discover Qatar with a purpose. If there’s anything we need, is people that care about the environment, share our love for Qatar, and are passionate about leaving a better place for generations to come.”
Fatma al-Khater, Founder of Torba Market, said, “We witnessed first-hand that how pollution and especially single use plastics damage marine ecosystem in Qatar. The community-driven event was great at promoting our cause in reducing plastic waste. We also saw a need to do more events like this in the future”.
Shreya Suraj, an Indian expatriate and active volunteer with DEAP, said, “I always have wonderful feelings when I become a part of the clean-up drives. I think I am contributing something positive. Mangroves are usually thought of clean and unpolluted areas. However, I saw that different items and things are stuck in the mangroves and pollute the area continuously. We had a fun time cleaning the mangrove in Al Khor. There were children and families carrying our clean-up activity. Such activities also raise awareness among children about importance of cleanliness.”
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