Recycling, preserving the environment, conservation and green thinking are all mostly alien terms in Saudi-Arabia.
Wasting, exploiting the environment, littering and materialism are the way of life in the Kingdom.
“The GCC has the world’s highest levels of domestic waste, after the USA, generating more than 22 million tonnes of household waste in 2009. More than half of the waste, 58 per cent was generated in Saudi Arabia. Apart from domestic waste, additional refuse comes from littering parks, gardens and from the waste dumped in the seas and on beaches.” http://recycle-saudi.com/home.htm ( sadly this recycle site no longer exists)
This is really a huge disgrace for the Kingdom as a Muslim nation. Islam teaches people to preserve nature, not to use anything excessively and to conserve the environment. Humans were entrusted by God with the responsibility of taking care of the earth. Here are some quotes from the Quran and Hadith:
“Now, behold! Your Lord said to the angels: I am placing upon the earth a human successor to steward it” (Al Baqarah 2:30)“Rampant corruption and disorder have appeared in the land and in the sea because of what people keep doing. He will let them taste some of their doings, so that they might return to the Right Path.”(30:41)“The Prophet Mohammed told his companion, Saad, that he was using an excessive amount of water to make ablution, (wudu) saying do not waste (water). Saad then asked if there could ever be wastage if water was used for the purpose of wudu. The Prophet’s reply was, Yes. Even if you are by a flowing river.”
Have people totally forgotten about this responsibility? Are they just ignorant of these teachings? Are people too proud to clean up after themselves or to recycle? What causes this atrocious negligence and irresponsible behavior?
There have been numerous grass roots efforts to change public opinion about recycling. Most campaigns are met with resistance and even ridicule. People simply do not take it seriously.
This past week was “Saudi Green Revolution Week” a campaign to promote environmental awareness in the Kingdom launched by Naqa’a Environmental Enterprise http://naqaaenterprise.wordpress.com/
Naqa’a was founded by a group of bold women from Jeddah who stepped forward to introduce revolutionary environmental practices across organizations in the Kingdom.
“The Saudi Green Revolution Week is a social initiative by Naqa’a Environmental Enterprise. It is a revolutionary movement of young people united to elevate the public’s awareness about the much neglected issues of the environment in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi Green Revolution Week is a campaign of awakenings, new beginnings and hope for a healthier and cleaner Saudi Arabia. The campaign maybe for a week, but the Green Revolution is an ongoing movement towards an eco-friendly society; and ultimately a Greener planet.”
Jeddah is one of the most polluted cities in the world. Its beaches and parks are ruined with rotting litter. There are ongoing campaigns and efforts by locals to clean up the beaches and the Corniche, but it looks like a never-ending battle against the masses of trash. After the clean-up, more trash appears.
Typical attitudes: “The guy in the yellow overall will pick it up anyway, so why bother“. “I’m not a cleaner or a maid, I don’t pick up trash”. “Recycling is for freaks and weirdos, not cool people like me” or “I just don’t give a damn”.
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