Left-over charcoal, plastic bottles and other waste thrown by irresponsible beach-goers have been polluting some of Qatar’s pristine beaches.

This situation irked several residents who went to the Mesaieed beach recently. They found plastic waste even atop the nearby sand dunes apart from the beach and the waters, posing danger to the desert environment and marine life.

Plastic bottles and leftover food and drinks scattered on the Mesaieed Beach. PICTURES: Jayan Orma.

“Plastic candy wrappers, plastic bags, toys, and spoiled food can be seen along the shoreline, it’s a pity and these people who don’t care about the environment should be banned from going to beaches,” said a resident, while observing that some areas of the shoreline becomes less appealing to many visitors.

“Now, you have to find a clean area on the beach to lie down, which is disappointing,” he said.

He stressed that “keeping the place clean is a way of protecting not only the environment but also ourselves since we are also the ones who use it.”

“We been given the opportunity to enjoy and spend our free time here with our families and friends as long as we want free of charge so we have to treasure its beauty by simply disposing our trash properly,” he added.

Unconcerned beach-goers dispose their wastes improperly at Mesaieed Beach.

Another resident suggested that beach-goers should use portable stoves instead of charcoal to cook their food – also a way of preventing the sands from further deterioration.

She added that people can also gather their own trash as they leave the beach and dispose it at designated areas. “It should start from us, from within, and we don’t have to wait for beach cleaners and volunteers to come.”

However, it is learnt that some groups who usually stay overnight just throw their trash onsite and leave early morning to avoid being noticed.

Mesaieed has become one of the favourite beach destinations for Doha residents, as well as those from other municipalities, due to its pristine waters and “singing” sand dunes. It is located 40km southwest of Doha.

While groups of volunteers organise regular beach cleanup drives, beach-goers have been urged to be responsible in disposing of the trash they generate.

The Ministry of Municipality and Environment has been in the forefront of cleaning a number of beach areas in the country, including a comprehensive cleanup campaign at Al Thakhira beach held in May 2018.

“We have to continue raising public awareness on the negative effects of plastic and other wastes if thrown elsewhere,” said a volunteer, who took part in many environmental initiatives such as beach cleanup in Dukhan, Fuwairit, Mesaieed, and Simaisma.

According to oceancrusaders.org, an estimated 100,000 marine creatures die from plastic entanglement annually, and approximately 1mn sea birds also die from plastic.

Apart from embassies and other organisations, the volunteer hopes that schools and other institutions in Qatar will continuously participate in what he described as “a simple yet noble act that creates positive environmental impact.”

He noted that netizens can also help in such campaign by spreading “the good news” on social media and other online channels, aimed at inspiring others to do the same.