Photos courtesy of Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning
A 15-ton dead whale found on Al Huwaila beach in northern Qatar was removed by a government beach cleanup crew earlier this week.
Photographs posted by the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning (Baladiya) show the 10-meter long whale being lifted by a digger off the beach on Tuesday.
The ministry did not give any details of the type of whale or how they believed the mammal died.
A number of animals have been removed in recent years after washing up on Qatar’s shoreline.
In September, a dead dolphin was removed from Al Wakrah port, while in March, a reader sent Doha News photos of a dead sea lion that remained out in the open for several days outside Al Khor.
And, in 2012, nearly three dozen sheep were found washed up on Qatar’s northern beaches. Unlike the dolphins and sea lion, the sheep were presumed to have died aboard a cargo ship and thrown overboard before the tide carried the carcasses to the beaches.
The state of Qatar’s shores is an issue of pressing importance, with many residents complaining about heavily littered beaches, especially at holiday times and during weekends.
One of the most popular seaside destinations, Fuwairit beach, appears to have been particularly affected by people failing to take their trash with them.
— Maheerah Gamieldien-Mohamed (@envermaheerah) October 11, 2014
Under its #WeAllSeeYou cleanliness campaign, Baladiya urges residents to take their trash with them when they use beaches.
But a number of grass-roots organizations have also set up their own beach clean-up drives.
One of these, Doha Beach Clean Project, has planned a community clean up morning at Fuwairat beach on Friday, Nov. 14, and is looking for volunteers to take part as it attempts to raise awareness of the importance of looking after Qatar’s beaches.
The group is appealing for participants through its Facebook page. Those who need a ride should meet at IKEA to arrange car pooling, or just head straight to the beach for a 9am start.
Organizer Michelle Leck told Doha News that up to 100 volunteers were expected for the family event, which children are also welcome to attend.
Participants should bring rubbish bags, water and hats, but the group can provide gloves.
Fuwairat beach is a popular breeding ground for Qatar’s carefully tended Hawksbill turtles and during the key breeding season, between April and July, a section of the beach is fenced off in a bid to protect their fragile nesting areas.
However, in an opinion article published on Doha News earlier this year, Qatar resident Ren Wlasiuk said that often, human impact (strewn rubbish and tire-rutted sand) confuses the turtles, who are desperate to lay their eggs in the same spot where they hatched.
They are carefully monitored by an expert team from Qatar University’s Environmental Studies Center and the Ministry of Environment, with involvement from private sector businesses.
The team has said they would like to see a number of changes to the beach, including keeping up the fencing around the nesting ground throughout the year, and banning vehicles from driving across the sand.
Note: This article was edited to correctly reflect that the Fuwairat beach clean up takes place on Friday Nov. 14.