The Mangroves in Qatar are a rare sight. A haven for creatures of the Land, Air, and Sea; you'd be surprised to see what looks like a forest growing out of the coast line. This is where you'll find the Avicennia Maria, also known as the grey or white mangrove tree. The Mangroves are also an incredible natural filter. However, even the filters at home need to be cleaned out now and then.
Before you continue, check this out:
Giant big smiles despite the weather getting quite hot.
It was truly a community effort. A beautiful sight of everyone helping in whatever way that they could. Some people took on roles such as walking down the coast line holding big boxes of water and making sure everyone was hydrated, some boosted already elevated spirits with clean up songs, some dove straight into the mud to pull out giant tyres. It was heartwarming.
We had wanted around 200 volunteers to sign up, but only a few days later, we were surprised to get over 550 registrations. Of course the success and awarness was not only due to the ILQ community, but other websites like Doha News, Marhaba, Qatar Happening and Just Here spreading the word.
People turned up at 5:30 am at the meeting point, registered, picked up their cleaning kits and breakfast, then got into buses or took their own vehicles to Al Thakira mangroves.
Once everybody arrived, we shared how important it was to protect the mangroves. As mentioned not only were they a rare sight in Qatar, but an incredible and useful gift from nature. It can clean the air, the sea, and is a haven to small fish and birds. Although there was quite a mess of bottles, left over BBQ pits, broken glass, and plastic left over from some, yes we dare say this, selfish visitors, let's not only blame them. A lot of the waste comes from the sea. The mangroves just filter out the garbage that washes up. The message here isn't only 'Keep the Mangroves clean and Don't throw garbage', it's 'Don't throw garbage and be clean wherever your are. Simple.'
I had asked, megaphone blaring, where people came from, just to make a point that we're from all over the world, coming together for one cause. Sri Lanka, America, Pakistan, South Africa, England, Cameroon, Nigeria, India, Philippines, Qatar, people kept shouting countries, and everyone cheered them on. If ever there was a time for someone's heart to swell up with pride, it was now.
We divided ourselves into three teams. The land team, the shoreline team and the kayaking team. Everybody played there part to clean up as much as possible. Big or small; garbage was garbage.
This event was all thanks to amazing organizers and volunteers. Working hand in hand with ILQ, Arabian Adventures Qatar really stepped up and reached out to many sponsors in order to encourage them to help out. We had Yalla Transport and GAC provide buses. Hamad Medical Center had an ambulance at hand. Global Metals brought two gigantic trucks (which we filled!!) for the garbage and as an added bonus, to recycle. Paddle Qatar and Entalek gave quick talks on how to protect the environment and lead Kayak teams. Grand Hyatt, Intercontinental Doha and Oryx provided water and snacks, Al Misnad and Rifaat provided legal support, and GAC, QDVC, QTA, Jaidah Motors, provided financial support. There are so many more sponsors that supported of course.
We're also so proud to see that Qatar Tourism Authority and Hamad Medical Center participated and literally were "Helping the environment? Helping Qatar! We're in!".
During the Mangrove clean up we demonstrated what a caring community can do to help the environment. We managed to make a difference by sharing a few hours of our day. The goal is to educate through awareness and hopefully encourage people to think twice before they throw something on the ground.
ILQ and Arabian Adventures would like to thank each and every one of the volunteers, participants and sponsors for making this event a success. A special thanks also goes out to Zarina Rajah from AAQ, Anri Taki from ILQ, Boyd from Paddle Qatar, and Steve from Entalek for helping to organize, plan and lead everything.
Check out this fantastic video that Simon Torkington sent us after he himself came on down to the Mangroves to do his part.
Mass Clean Up of the Mangroves in Qatar. from Simon Torkington on Vimeo.
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Our official photographers: George Delfino, Allan Orale and Van Darren Martinez
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