We are a big fan of Qatar's mangrove swamps, covering them in our website, and we must be one of the few residents who have actually been snorkelling in them.
The greenery they provide is a great contrast to the scrub of the surrounding desert, and they are of immense benefit both to the environment and to fish stocks.
Yet it seems the swamps, supposedly under official protection, are under continuing attack.
We were upset when the beautiful swamp at Al Wakra was destroyed - a few managed to avoid the destruction but were then lost when the beach was dug up.
Now, according to an article by Fran Gillespie in the Gulf Times, the swamps at Al Dhakira are also being dug up.
The swamps, which were planted by the Qatari government in the 1990's in an admirable attempt to protect against coastal erosion and protect the environment, are in fact protected.
A Goverment resolution forbids the “cutting, or destroying, or transporting plants” and “rooting out or cutting of wildlife organisms or parts of it, or the collection of their seeds unless there are scientific purposes behind it”.
So it's quite suprising that the reason given to an environmental scientist by the engineer on location was simply:
“Local people did not like the smell”.