Last weekend, I went on a trip to Bandar al Khairan, to escape the noise and crowds of the city. I had been up to my ears with the messy sights I’d seen in the city and so desperately needed a break. So, what better place than Bandar al Khairan for solace?
Bandar Khairan Island is accessible by boat and it offers vast stretches of sandy beaches, an ideal location for a peaceful holiday, away from the city. The place has five dive sites – Al Munassir shipwreck, Mermaid Cove, Quriyat wreck, Ras Abu Daoud and Shaik Saif and the underwater world, rich in corals and fish is simply spectacular.
The sights I saw around, however, were far from spectacular. The groups of people who have been frequenting the place for enjoyment have been leaving behind tell-tale signs of their misdemeanour. Dumped between the rocks were broken sanitaryware and broken glass bottles that can be harmful to humans as well as lesser mortals like me, left over food and utensils, even empty cans of barbecue fuel.
I met a young man named Bassam who operates boats between Muscat and Bandar al Khairan and conducts overnight camps for tourists. He told me that this was a regular practice here and boards requesting visitors to maintain cleanliness usually go unnoticed.
“People come here, have a good time and then return leaving behind all sorts of waste. We need to get the message across in a more creative way, like putting up a fancy installation that gets noticed. Civic vigilance needs to be stepped up and fines for littering are also needed,” he said.
Thanks to the ‘Bitter About Litter’ campaign that has begun taking shape as an initiative of Apex Media, many are now coming forward to join the clean-up brigade. After all, people visit tourist sites to see nature’s glory, not litter. Perhaps, it’s time to showcase the culprits who mar the beauty of Oman!