Athaiba Beach early on a Saturday morning saw flocks of birds swooping overhead and gathering on the sands; blue skies punctuated by just a few puffs of cloud and the beach stretching as far as you can see. This would be paradise except for the rotting remains of barbecues and the wicked looking sticks that proliferate; countless cigarette stubs strewn the length of the park and beach; plastic in all shapes and forms, and a multitude of other detritus from the night before.
Children, staff and parents and friends of TLC International School met this scene with some dismay.
“We knew to expect some litter but not to this extent”, said Sally Vale, Academic Director, adding, “And unfortunately Athaiba Beach is not the worst example of people’s disregard for our environment.”
They set up camp near to the car park, providing gloves, biodegradable rubbish bags which were collected from the Municipality and scoops and got to work.
“Our group of around 150 people ranged in age from pre-school, nursery and primary children from TLC up to grandparents on a visit to Oman. We were also joined by HH Alia al Said and Her Highness Hujaija al Said, Chairman of Association for the Welfare of the Handicapped Children, both keen to be highly visible role models for our young people. Her Highness Hujaija al Said also included the children with disabilities to join cleaning the beach in order to learn from this experience how to take care of the environment.
By 9 am the group had gathered more than 20 full bags of rubbish, one of which we examined with the children. We talked about the effects that various items would have on our land, oceans and the creatures that inhabit them and focused on the extreme threat that plastic poses to our ecosystem.
In a separate clean up effort, 6-year old Aterae joined a group of adults in cleaning up beaches in Bandar Al Khayran.
Her parents both love the outdoor and imparting their passion for the environment is something they wanted to pass to their kids.
Sponsored by Esraqah, the clean up activity yielded over 20 black bags full of trash.
“To bring kids to these kind of activities is important to impart to them the importance of maintaining the cleanliness of the environment,” shared one of the adult participants.
“They are the future caretakers of the planet afterall,” shared another.