It can be easy to lapse into a predictable routine on a typical weekend in Doha. However, there are plenty of fun things to do during your days off, becoming a volunteer for Doha Environmental Actions is one!
Jeanne Brown, a Canadian expat in Qatar, started Doha Environmental Actions in May 2017 after many disappointed trips to the beaches here. Instead of white sand beaches and clear turquoise waters, Jeanne came across soda can lined beaches and plastic loaded waters.
Jeanne raised a few eyebrows when she started picking up plastic and non-recyclable trash from Al Wakrah Family Beach. However, some families at the beach joined her in the clean-up mission and shared their interest in making this a weekly work-out. This was the beginning of a successful project with a noble mission – to preserve and protect the environment.
Today the team meets every weekend to make the beaches and historical sites in the country more beautiful and cleaner.
I started Doha Environmental Actions simply because I love snorkelling and food. It broke my heart to see more trash than fish. Also, as a dietitian, I am aware that the plastic we pollute the ocean with today ends up contaminating the food chain tomorrow. Our group dreams of being able to enjoy a clean beach. We want to inspire people to make a habit of REDUCING and disposing of their rubbish responsibly.’
The main difficulty is to see beach-goers litter while we are busy cleaning up. We have higher hopes for our community than to pick up after other people but for the environment and health’s sake we also consider it our responsibility.’
Which area in Qatar gets littered up often?
The public beaches, Dukhan, Wakra and Sealine family beach are very popular and always littered. But sadly, the place we collected the most amount of garbage from was Al Jumail historical fishing village, where we ended up gathering 200 grocery-sized bags. We wish people would respect Qatar’s heritage better.
Worst cleanup experience
It depends on the point of view. Some people are disappointed when we get to a beach that has no trash. They are very motivated to make a difference and that is why they join. On the other hand, some people get sad and upset when a beach is really dirty. Of course, I think we would all agree that our saddest moments are when we see dead animals on the beach like sea turtles, sting rays and fishes, likely with a build-up of plastic in their stomachs.
As a new group we do not yet have official sponsors however, several groups have taken interest in the project. An off-road rental company in Doha called ‘Pinoy Offroaders Qatar’ generously supplied SUVs for one of our clean-ups in the desert. We are organising another event soon with Top Moto that will supply Quads/beach buggies to clean another part of Qatar’s sand dunes.’
We are currently working on a banner that we can set up while we clean up the beach so the hundreds of people on the beach can read why we do what we do and learn about the organizations that support us. Sometimes people think we are a company and that we get paid, but no, we are all proud volunteers.’
The team, with support from local tourism companies, is currently working on organising fun clean-up events. Jeanne is also working on an awareness campaign to contribute to the increased use of reusable bags and eventually a plastic bag ban.
How can one volunteer?
Follow Doha Environmental Actions on Facebook and stay tuned for the next clean-up, meeting or event. You can take your own vehicle or hop in with one of the volunteers.
If you don’t or can’t join as a volunteer, please make a difference by disposing of your own garbage responsibly and registering to a recycling service. Also, be aware that what you throw from your car window or leave in the street in the city will, with the wind, end up in the sea. Or you can join us and have fun with a purpose!’
How often do you meet?
Follow Doha Environment Actions on Facebook for updates on their next clean-up missions and awareness programmes, or to volunteer for a noble cause!
Author: Lubuna Jeffin