“Plastic bottles and other types of trash are thrown carelessly on Masirah island,” said an environmentalist describing the increasing level of pollution at Masirah beaches caused by people visiting the island. A substantial devastation is caused due to lack of awareness and careless behaviour. The sea gulps huge amounts of garbage, affecting not only people, but also marine life and other species like cultures and turtles. Mehdi Ahmed Jaaffar, vice president of Environment Society of Oman (ESO) said that vulture population has been decreasing because of environmental contamination due to dumped rubbish and other factors like poisoning.
“For now, we have ourselves restricted to Masirah Island and to rubbish dumps, which have contributed in severely affecting the vulture population”he added.
According to Environment Society of Oman, “Due to unsustainable fishing practices, marine pollution, climate change, and development on nesting beaches, loggerhead turtles are getting endangered”.
Citizens and visitors of Masirah island demonstrated their anger regarding this issue. “This is the fault of the government and citizens. Services are limited and the island is grimy”, a visitor said.
Another tourist explained that Masirah has a clean water and a good eco-system with lesser environmental concerns.
On the other hand, Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs announced: “Masirah’s rich biodiversity is at the heart of the island’s appeal as an eco-tourism destination of the future”.
In an incident in July 2016, a vessel sank off the coast causing major sea pollution. A campaign was initiated by the ESO to clean up the beach removing more than five tons of trash, saving the lives of turtles and other species.
The accident caused many items to float onshore, for example, bottle caps, water bottles, torches, plastic, and diesel and petrol barrels. According to an activist, this campaign to clean-up Masira’s beaches took many months.
Such accidents along with the continued trashing of the beaches and waters of Masirah Island has had its effect on the reputation of this unique island amongst visiting tourists.
Other than its reputation, by swallowing plastics and other non-biodegradables, animals on land and in sea are severely affected, leading to chronic illnesses and even death.
With endangered species of turtles making their way to the beaches between July and August, environmentalists are worried that the increased number of visitors that come in for turtle watch, could increases trash affecting the health and well-being of these rare creatures.
Omyma Al Kindi