By Majd Othman
KUWAIT: A team from the beach safari program of Kuwait Environment Protection Society conducted a survey of beaches and coasts to determine the readiness of beaches to receive visitors and assess the condition of the coast and the commitment of beachgoers to instructions.
Nawaf Al-Muwail, a member of the investigative team of the beach safari program, drew attention to the most prominent observations that were documented during the tour. The team found many of the signs are very old and have not been changed or modernized. “Despite cleaning the beaches daily by the municipality, with garbage containers placed at equal distances, the waste hidden in the sand and thrown on beaches raises questions about the culture of beachgoers and their commitment to the laws written clearly and sometimes in several languages,” Muwail said.
“The responsibility for setting up directional signs for each beach is divided among the Municipality, Touristic Enterprises Co, Public Authority for Agricultural Affairs and Fish Resources and Environment Public Authority,” he added. Muwail pointed out the team found the signs did not match the general culture of the public, as some phrases are not appropriate today. In addition, some of signs are in conflict with environmental legislation and fines imposed by the environmental protection law 42 of 2014 for littering, which is not less than KD 50 and not more than KD 500,” he said.
“The signs we find at Shuwaikh Beach baffle beachgoers. Also, the stench in the area may explain the reason this beach is devoid of visitors even on the most beautiful days of summer. The presence of cold water coolers is an important requirement for waterfronts, and their presence does not mean they work properly or that they are clean for users. The maintenance schedule and shelf life of the coolers is unknown,” Muwail said. “There is also a need for clean public toilets, with services suitable for the public and with a capacity that suits the size of the beach and users. But this is a fantasy at public beaches,” he said.
“There are many dangers that beachgoers face, including being ignorant of the dangers of stonefish hidden under and between exposed beach rocks. Signs must be placed on ways to avoid them and dealing with cases of injury. Colored flags should be placed to warn against dangerous creatures such as vermin, jellyfish and feral animals on the rocky shores of Kuwait, such as near the Kuwait Towers and the Green Island area. Some beachgoers walk with pets, and it is always better to have clear signs for places designated for this, directions to dispose dog poo and special places to collect it,” Muwail said.
“It is noticeable that the sign for the entrance to the beach car parks adjacent to Kuwait Towers, which is located in an area called Ras Agouza, indicates the possibility of swimming at this beach. But there is no sign that mentions the danger of the water there, and accidents have been repeated in this area,” he said, indicating that all Kuwaiti beaches are devoid of lifeguards
Regarding security and safety measures, he said the biggest danger is the availability of jet skis for rent on some beaches, with no barriers between swimmers and jet ski riders. There is also no provision of wheelchairs or designated areas for riding sand buggies, he rued.