By Passant Hisham
KUWAIT: The eagerly anticipated camping season in Kuwait has become a highlight for residents, offering a unique escape from the monotonous routine of the year. The four-month camping season in Kuwait began on Nov 15 and ends on March 15.
However, beyond the enjoyment, concerns arise about the sustainability of campsites due to the misuse of nature and environmentally unfriendly activities, posing severe threats to the ecosystem. Several factors contribute to these risks, with plastic waste, organic waste, soil erosion and a lack of awareness about camping regulations being the most perilous.
Jenan Bahzad, Secretary-General of the Kuwait Environment Protection Society, warned against the use of single-use plastic items during camping, such as plates, bags, spoons and cups. Disposing of these items introduces unnatural and toxic components into the environment, persisting for over 400 years. This not only harms the soil’s quality and fertility in the long term but also endangers living organisms, as animals may mistake these plastic tools as food, leading to their eventual demise.
Jenan Bahzad, Secretary General of Kuwait Environment Protection Society
Bahzad emphasized the adverse consequences of leaving food residues as organic waste in the environment. These remnants create visual and odor pollution, causing hygiene problems that may discourage campers from revisiting the same area. Each individual’s impact results in the degradation of camping spaces, forcing campers to explore new areas that eventually suffer the same pollution fate. This cycle continues until there are no clean camping spaces left.
Soil erosion, as outlined by Bahzad, is a complex issue exacerbated by various camping activities, including riding motorcycles, buggies, random camping in non-designated areas, use of cement for constructing camps and making earthen fences or mounds to define the camp boundaries. These actions damage the upper soil layer, disrupting the food cycle for animals and insects dependent on plant growth. Furthermore, soil erosion can lead to accidents and deaths on public streets, desertification and a loss of fertile land, contributing to hunger, poverty, unemployment, forced migration and increased climate change-related risks, according to the World Health Organization.
Lack of awareness about camping regulations
Bahzad underscored that the aforementioned environmental effects result from a disregard for camping regulations enforced by the Kuwait Municipality and Kuwait Environment Protection Society. These regulations prohibit activities such as damaging the natural environment, constructing fixed facilities, making earthen boundaries, soil dredging, open dumping or burning of waste, hunting wildlife and paving camps with harmful materials like asphalt or cement.
Human intrusion emerges as a significant factor behind these negative impacts on the environment. It is crucial to recognize that enjoying the camping season without considering the consequences of one’s actions on the surroundings is not worth jeopardizing the lives of people, animals and plants, ultimately risking the overall quality of life on land.
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