DOHA: Thick layers of floating filth have formed in different areas in the waters off the Corniche due to dumping of large quantities of organic waste. The waste is being generated by the traditional dhows operating in the area, it is believed.
Yesterday, The Peninsula found large patches of trash floating in many places all along the seven-kilometre-long coastline along the Corniche, including right behind the iconic Museum of Islamic Art. Layers of empty plastic bottles, tetrapacks, chocolate wrappers, crushed coffee cups and cigarette butts were found floating in the otherwise turquoise waters.
Visitors throwing leftover food, empty water bottles and cigarette cases straight into the waters without bothering to deposit them in the trash bins placed along the walkways is a common sight at the Corniche.
The fragile marine system off the Corniche is already facing a threat from large volumes of storm water runoff. Studies have found that the waters are receiving large quantities of heavy metals through the storm water. During the last heavy rains, a large area near Al Bandar Jetty was seen covered with sticky black water after two days of showers. A huge amount of street litter was seen washed into the sea then.
Experts point out that accumulation of debris is potentially dangerous to marine life. The debris may block the gut and cause suffocation or disrupt the normal feeding habits of marine creatures.
When toxic substances enter the sea, they get dissolved, become suspended in the water or get deposited on the seabed. The resulting pollution causes the quality of the water to deteriorate and affects aquatic systems. Pollutants can also lead to the smothering of coral reefs.
In the late 1990s, Qatar University had conducted a study on “beach tar contamination on the Qatari coastline of the Gulf region”. Tar concentrations, collected from 11 locations, varied in space and time.
The study found tar deposition was highest following the Gulf War oil spills, especially along the northwestern and northern coasts. With the exception of higher levels off Saudi Arabia and Oman, the levels of beach tar around Qatar were found to be within the range of previously recorded Gulf values. The eastern coast then appeared to be receiving fresh tar in lower amounts than the western coast.
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