A short film produced by a long-time Qatar resident aims to highlight the beauty of the mangrove swamps in the northern part of the country – and the ugliness of the trash people leave behind after visiting the site.
Qatar is home to eight mangrove sites, and all are protected by a 2006 Emiri decree.
The plants play a vital role in helping to reduce climate change because they absorb up to 50 times more carbon than a similar area of tropical forest. They also offer a safe breeding place for many varieties of fish.
Peter, the producer of the video, told Doha News that he made this film to encourage people to treat the area with respect:
“I had never been to the mangroves before. I went up there just to shoot something that I hoped would be picturesque. I was really shocked to see all those truck tyres lying in amongst the mangroves and all the plastic bags hanging off the branches. At that point I decided to use sweeping shots of the wildlife and landscape set to classical music to give a sense of the beauty of the location – then to use the same technique to show the ugly side of what’s happening there.”
He added that the problem is littering in public places is a widespread one in Qatar, and during other trips to the country’s shores has seen dead animals tangled up in other people’s discarded fishing lines and trash:
“I have lived here for nearly eight years and I get really depressed when I visit the dramatic desert landscapes and find litter everywhere. After a camping trip or a picnic it’s so easy to pack up all the garbage in a bin liner and take it home rather than leaving it behind to ruin the environment…
Plastic waste is a real killer and not just an eyesore. If we all take a little more care, Qatar’s environment will regain its beauty and the wildlife will be protected. As for the truck tyres, I have no idea how they got there but it would not take a great effort for the municipality to organise their removal.”
Littering is illegal in Qatar, and punishable by a QR500 fine.
To encourage others to keep the nation clean, the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning recently launched a nationwide campaign. Advertising billboards around Doha urge people not to litter, spit or dump garbage in public areas.