Masirah Island faces risk from tourists, fishermen

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 – Masirah Island, in recent years, has emerged as a popular destination for visitors from Oman, especially for adventure tourists. Situated in the South al Sharqiyah Governorate, the island was visited by over 15,000 tourists in 2017 and the number is expected to be higher for 2018. Known for moderate weather and pristine beaches, the island is increasingly becoming a destination for those interested in fishing, diving, birds and turtles. Work is under way to open a number of hotel projects in the coming years. But the Island is facing a serious problem due to environmental pollution, especially with regards to the dumping of waste and littering by the tourists as well some local residents. Unscientific fishing by some fishermen especially expatriates also pose a major threat to the local environment. According to David Halvorsen, an expatriate and a resident of Masirah Island, told the Observer there is a need for intensive awareness campaigns. “Discarded fishing nets is a big problem around all parts of the island. Much of my spare time is spent clearing the beach around my base of plastic bottles, bags and countless fuel containers. These obviously have been discarded by fishermen.” Halvorsen added that even tourists are to be blamed as they throw away food waste.
He said even paper cups that are dumped on the shores of Masirah contain plastic. A senior executive of a resort in Masirah added, “We always tell our guests not to throw away plastic bottles, and food on the beaches or the roadside in the Island.” He added the locals and the visitors have the same responsibility towards preserving the environment of Masirah clean.

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