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Tribune News Network
More than 175 volunteer families and children took part in an initiative to clean up one of Qatar’s most valued natural and historical heritage sites – the mangrove forests on the Purple Island (Bin Ghanim Island) in Al Thakira.
Fatma Hassan, event/school coordinator at A Flower Each Spring (FES) and programme coordinator of Friends of Nature (FON), said: “This is A Flower Each Spring’s 2nd beach clean-up event. We had the American Girl Scouts camped at our site; the girls were very eager and the families were very committed. We thank our co-host AquaSports for accommodating the rest of the participants who attended the beach clean-up and give the event an AquaSports twist. It’s wonderful to see people with a common goal come together and celebrate what they have achieved.”
The commendable environmental event was organised by Doha Environmental Actions Project (DEAP) and FON, and hosted at two different campsites -- one side of the Purple Island by AquaSports, Qatar’s leading watersports and nature tourism company, and the opposite side of the island by FES, a program publicising local flora and other environmental aspects for community awareness since 1999. The event was also supported by Baladiya.
Mohamed El-Azab, operations & branding manager of AquaSports, said: “The beach cleanup was an amazing hard work. The mangrove forests of Al Thakira around Purple Island are a protected natural site and home to a wide variety of wild birds and sea life including flamingos, herons and the endangered grey mangrove. Grey mangroves are hugely important to habitat preservation for many animals; they are also very susceptible to pollution and changes to local conditions.”
Purple Island is also a location of significant historical interest. The name Purple Island is derived from the dye produced in ancient times from the shells of a local mollusk. This purple dye was much prized by royalty and the wealthy across the region and as far as the Roman Empire.
Jose Saucedo, director of DEAP, said: “Purple Island is an incredible beautiful place in Qatar that is home to many species of birds and marine life. We are grateful to A Flower Each Spring, Friends of Nature and Aquasports, as well as to the American Girl Scouts, and all the incredible volunteers for supporting our efforts. It takes a village to #keeepqatarclean.”
Over 1,000kgs of dangerous and polluting refuse was collected including old tires, plastic bags, fishing lines and sharp metal objects during the clean-up. At the end of the day, Baladiya removed all the collected garbage for safe disposal.
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