Friday, September 24
01:45 PM

A littered landscape

8 Aug 2020

It was on a Friday night, that I got an invitation from one of my friends to go for fishing at Jebel Sifah, the next day morning. Honestly, I am not that passionate about fishing but Jebel Sifah caught my attention. Even though it’s hardly about a 30-minute drive from Muscat, I never got a chance to visit that place. I took this as a good opportunity to be away from the COVID-19 pandemic blues and connect with nature and rejuvenate myself. I agreed to join him and was very excited. I set the alarm for 4am before I hit the bed at midnight.

As scheduled, we set out in the wee hours of the morning around 4.30 am. My friend, who is passionate about fishing, was well equipped and was hoping to have a good catch. Throughout the journey he was narrating his previous fishing experiences at the same place and also threw some light upon the changing behaviour of fish with tides. Though I was all ears to him, my mind started wandering at the sight of the mountains on either side of the steep winding road.

Mountain ranges in Muscat have their own charm with deep dark shades of brown and grey, devoid of any green cover. Fast moving dark shadows of the mountains in the dim lights of the night looked very appealing. I lowered the side window to have a better glimpse of the beautiful sight, as the cool breeze blew on my face. Slowly my mind slipped into a space I was missing for days together.

We reached our destination, few miles before the well-known Sifah beach, on time. It was a small beach, protected by short mountains on three sides and mostly used by the fishermen from neighbouring villages. As we got out of the vehicle, my friend was in a hurry to get to his favourite spot with a cool box in one hand and a fishing rod on his shoulder.

Stepping carefully over the rocks on the mountain edge, balancing myself with the cool box in one hand, holding on to the protruding rocks above my head, I followed him around hundred metres inside. While he was trying his luck at fishing, I quietly sat in a corner, on a rock, watching the mountain sloping into the sea on the other side. The pre-dawn sky behind the horizon looked warm and vibrant, creating an amazing visual treat. I felt light and elated.

My friend wasn’t lucky enough with his catch this time, so we moved on to another location nearby. After ten minutes of drive through the mountain trail, we reached a long stretch of the seafront with big boulders and a small rocky island at the other end. I stood spellbound looking at the beautiful work of art created by nature. Light brown and dark shades of the mountain ranges with sharp edges seemed like bold strokes of a paint brush. It was amazing to see the rising Sun highlighting nature’s canvas with its first rays. I pinched myself to check whether I had been dreaming. 

There were many fishing enthusiasts driving their passion and it was interesting to watch them in action. At that moment, I noticed few plastic bottles popping out of the boulders, putting a full stop to my flying thoughts. I pulled out a few and walked towards the trash bin fixed at the far end of the long stretch. It was even more saddening to see littered waste left behind by some campers a few metres away from the bin. Scattered plastic bottles, empty cigarette packets, softdrink cans, beer bottles and other trash definitely didn’t add any charm to the picturesque landscape.

I was trying to figure out how one’s mind works. I have always questioned myself: why do some people act in a way that shows disrespect to nature? Is it not possible to be a little more sensitive to the environment around us? After enjoying a good day, can’t one at least leave the place clean, for the campers arriving the next day. I do believe that it is very important to give back to the place which has given you an experience worth cherishing and remembering.

I felt low and was very quiet on the way back. My friend, who was behind the wheel, also looked sad for not bagging a single catch. It was his decision to spend some time in the Qantab village, a beautiful place very close to the city, in order to refresh our minds. In no time, the mind took flight to cheerful thoughts again, as we entered the tiny beach with wet black rocky terrain and clean white sand. Small waves dashed against the rocks splashing water on to my face. The bright, morning Sun and the humming waves added highlights to my visual delight. Truly an amazing scene!

I took out my cell phone to capture few beautiful moments, but to my unpleasant surprise, yet again, I spotted litter and rubbish which included liquor bottles left behind by the people who partied at the beach the previous night. It is so very annoying and depressing to see such a mess on a beautiful beachfront. We felt awful and drove back home with a heavy heart.

I reached home around 8.30 am. I couldn’t get over the disappointing sight on the beach and the way people disrespected nature. As I ate my breakfast, I pondered over the solution for this very basic problem. Why do people do this repeatedly?  Is it that difficult to be a little more responsible and sensitive as a citizen in saving our ‘Mother Earth’? 

Have you ever thought how this would be perceived by people who visit these places with outstanding natural beauty? After all, how can you enjoy your trip if the sites are strewn with litter. Can we pick up some good habits for a better tomorrow? No more rubbish excuses!

Are you listening?

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