The soft ruffling sound of the waves breaking on the shore created a lilting melody and the shrill cries of a stray seagull seemed to announce an epic campaign in the making. And so it was, last Saturday morning, at Azaiba beach.
I knew there was more to it than meets the eye when I noticed a Muscat Daily delivery van on an early morning round on a weekend, and so decided to hop on to the roof in my own sneaky way of playing Sherlock Holmes. With the wind blowing through my ears and the driver of the van oblivious of a gatecrasher on the roof, I knew it was going to be a morning to remember.
It was around 5.15am when the van arrived at a car park a stone’s throw from the beach and, within minutes, I saw a battalion of Apex Media staff shuffle in, one by one, all wearing broad smiles and immaculate T-shirts that said ‘I’m Bitter About Litter’. It was then I realised that the effervescence of this group would be channelised towards an environment-friendly gesture – a beach clean-up – the first step of what I expect to soon transform into a movement.
With no time lost in formalities, Mark Rix, the CEO, greeted and exhorted the group to go for it in all earnestness, while also paying attention to personal safety. And, in seconds, the group, led by none other than Saleh Zakhwani, chairman and editor-in-chief, took to the sands to rid it of rubbish of all types that had lent a shabby look to different sections of the beach.
Guys, I have my heart in such activity and it gave me great joy to see the staff of Apex Media get down to a much needed task at this beach. I hopped out in front of them and proudly joined the clean-up brigade which picked up over 50 bags of garbage within an hour or so. One could literally see the beach clean and tidy and early morning joggers stopped and nodded in approval to those engaged in the task as they passed by.
And, if one listened intently, even the waves seemed to be applauding in unison. After all, huge quantities of trash lifted off the beach does offer them a breath of freshness while also making the sands breathe easy.
The task, however, is far from over. And we need more people to join in similar exercises regularly, besides sprea-ding the message of clean- liness at all public places. We need to make everyone bitter about litter, only then will the task be accomplished.
So when you visit any beach henceforth, just remember: if you litter, you’re surely gonna make some people bitter. And it won’t be long before the ‘bitter brigade’ gets bigger than the ‘litter brigade’. So, hold onto your trash, and let our beaches breathe!