The Embassy of Italy, the Embassy of the United Kingdom, the UNESCO Office for the GCC Countries and Yemen, in collaboration with the Doha Environmental Actions Project (DEAP), organized a beach cleanup at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Al Zubarah.
Every year over 8 million tons of plastic waste enter the oceans around the world. This was a joint effort to help preserve Qatar’s natural resources and rich heritage, in the framework of the #KeepQatarClean campaign launched by H.E. Sheikha Mayassa bint Hamad Al-Thani, and also a way to raise awareness on the serious damage caused by plastic pollution and littering to the environment and wildlife.
The cleanup was attended by the Italian Ambassador Alessandro Prunas, the British Ambassador Jon Wilks, the UNESCO Regional Director Anna Paolini, and the Associate Director Partnerships of the Arab Youth Climate Movement Qatar (AYCM) Reem Al Sahlawi, in addition to other volunteers.
Director Anna Paolini said: “World Heritage sites are of outstanding universal value and I am pleased that the campaign includes the beach area of al Zubarah to contribute to its preservation. This initiative takes an even greater importance as the UN Ocean Decade of which UNESCO is partner just started with the scope to assure sustainability of our oceans. Promoting a plastic free ocean is a common moral responsibility and start with civic education and community initiatives as this one”.
“Plastic pollution is a global issue, we need to focus on what we can do to help mitigate the problem” – said Jose Saucedo, Director of DEAP. “In one hour, we collected 850 kilograms of trash, that helps not only to illustrate the magnitude of the problem, but most importantly it serves as an example on how the local community can have a positive impact on the protection of the environment”.
Educating and motivating future generations to respect nature, and encouraging people to actively participate in the clean-up efforts of our natural landscapes and historical sites, is part of what we need to do. The current global climate emergency demands immediate action and coordination of the international response, but it also requires local engagement against climate change, land degradation and biodiversity loss.
“As members of a community, we all can play a crucial role in finding local solutions to global issues affecting the Earth”, said Ambassador Alessandro Prunas. “Awareness and commitment are essential to leading the ecological transition of our societies and ensuring the sustainability of our life on the planet. These are indeed top priorities on the Italian Presidency’s agenda for the G20 forum, which is aimed – among other objectives – at encouraging a switch towards renewable energies and green technologies”.
In 2021 Italy and UK have a great responsibility in leading the change by co-chairing in Glasgow the 26th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP26), a key milestone in the global fight against climate change, with Italy hosting also the Pre-COP26 Summit in Milan.
“I am confident that the leadership of Italy and UK, together with likeminded partners such as Qatar and in the framework of a comprehensive strategy coordinated by the United Nations, can make a real difference in accelerating the process of change”, concluded Ambassador Prunas.
The British Ambassador Jon Wilks commented: “Protecting the environment in all aspects is a common responsibility that calls on all of us to play a part. As co-hosts of COP26 in Glasgow in November, the British Embassy Doha is very pleased to join the Italian Embassy to contribute to today’s valuable effort to preserve this UNESCO World Heritage Site. The problems we’ve seen here today with non-biodegradables and other litter are of course global challenges that we must all work to tackle and we are glad to be able to assist in this small way here in Doha today”.
“The UK looks forward to working closely with the Italian and the Qatari Governments in the run up to COP26 as Qatar refines and develops its Nationally Determined Contribution to emissions reduction. We also look forward to engaging with Qatari civil society at grassroots level in tandem with another of our partners here today, the AYCM.”
Reem Al Sahlawi said: “As a grassroots, community-oriented environmental organisation, AYCM fully supports the #keepqatarclean campaign under the leadership of H.E. Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad Al-Thani and the efforts of the co-hosts of COP26 and DEAP in this campaign. Reversing the damage and eco-system degradation caused by plastic and waste pollution requires civil society and government collaboration in every stage, from raising awareness to shaping and introducing policies that can preempt problems, regulating industries and encouraging conscious consumer behaviour.”