US ambassador to Kuwait joins beach clean-ups

Kuwait grassroots organisations TrashTag organised one of the events

The US ambassador to Kuwait joined volunteers to pick up rubbish on two beaches, as the Gulf nation marked World Cleanup Day on Saturday.

Ambassador Alina Romanowski shared photos of the events on social media.

“Important for coastal countries like ours to keep their beaches clean!” she wrote on Twitter.

Environmental grass roots NGO TrashTag Kuwait, which began as a small group on social media platform Reddit, organised one of the events on Shumaymah Beach.

"The American ambassador being there is very important," Carina Maceira, Director and Co-Founder of TrashTag Kuwait told The National.

"Having a relationship with ambassadors shows that there are people in Kuwait and organisations working towards sustainability and that's such an important message to send out globally when you come from a country that's ultimately oil-centric."

TrashTag regularly conducts beach clean-ups and says volunteers have picked up more than 3,200 bags of rubbish since its first campaign in 2019.

"On Saturday, we collected 161 bags of trash from Shumaymah Beach and we had more than 250 attendees," Ms Maceira said.

The group grew after a post on social media platform Reddit gained popularity, resulting in TrashTag's first clean-up on Sulaibikhat Beach on April 25, 2019.

“After receiving so much support from the community, volunteers decided to do another clean-up the following weekend, only this time twice the amount of volunteers attended and #TrashtagKuwait started to trend," TrashTag says on its website.

Since then, TrashTag Kuwait has grown and launched several other campaigns and projects to raise awareness about the environmental issues facing the country.

One of its initiatives, Project My Mai - which means “water” in Arabic - helps install water filters for communities inside the country that have no access to drinkable tap water.

“Struggling migrant communities still bearing the brunt of the pandemic struggle having access to the safety of our tap water due to old pipes or the infrequent cleaning of water tanks. This is why a filter is a necessity for any home,” TrashTag wrote on Instagram.

Until recently, Kuwait was home to the world's largest tyre dump in Al Rahiya - with more than 20 million rubber tyres. Residents in nearby areas complained of plumes of smoke from tyre incineration.

In August, Kuwait's Environment Public Authority transported all the tyres from Al Rahiya to another location for recycling and export.

Authorities said Al Rahiya would be transformed into a residential area.

Updated: September 19th 2021, 11:51 AM