Government clean-up crews say they’ve removed a dead dolphin from al Wakrah port, the latest creature found washed up on and around Qatar’s shores.
Officials from the Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning did not say what they believed killed the sea creature, which was shown being lifted by a crane into the back of a garbage truck in a photo released by the government.
Earlier this year, the Kuwait Times reported that several dolphins wash up on that country’s shores each year. The article quoted a Kuwait diver who said his colleagues in Qatar reported finding two or three dolphins washed up each month. Those deaths are suspected to have been primarily caused by dolphins swimming into the fishing nets of passing ships and later being thrown by anglers back into the sea.
Beach clean-up crews have handled various creatures that have washed up on Qatar’s extensive shorelines in recent years.
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.
Along with removing the dolphin from Wakrah port, ministry clean-up crews reported hauling away waste last month that included cans, plastic bags and timber from the Ras Abu Fantas beach.
Earlier in the summer, clean-up workers descended on the Corniche waterfront between the Museum of Islamic Art and the Doha Marriott Hotel, retrieving fish traps, nets and tyres from the water.
Both clean-up efforts were followed by an appeal by government officials for residents not to litter around the country’s waterfronts.
The same message was recently echoed by volunteers who helped clean the Al Thakira mangroves near Al Khor in May as well as by expat Neil McBride, who recently described his visit to a garbage-strewn beach in June.
That’s not the experience envisioned by officials responsible for attracting tourists to the country. Qatar’s long-term tourism strategy – released earlier this year – says that Qatar, “blessed with a year-round shining sun and some of the cleanest and unspoiled water in the region, … is set to become a haven for those looking to relax and enjoy the sun and (beach).”
Developing and marketing the country’s “sun and beach” amenities is one part of Qatar’s tourism strategy, which seeks to increase the number of tourists to the country five-fold by 2030.