'Green hajj' slowly takes root in Mecca | Inquirer Lifestyle
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Muslim pilgrims head on the walkway leading to the pillars where Muslim pilgrims partake in the symbolic stoning of the devil at the Jamarat Bridge in Mina, near Mecca, which marks the final major rite of the Hajj pilgrimage on August 23, 2018. Muslims from across the world gather in Mecca in Saudi Arabia for the annual six-day pilgrimage, one of the five pillars of Islam, an act all Muslims must perform at least once if they have the means to travel to Saudi Arabia. / AFP PHOTO / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE

‘Green hajj’ slowly takes root in Mecca

Muslim pilgrims head on the walkway leading to the pillars where Muslim pilgrims partake in the symbolic stoning of the devil at the Jamarat Bridge in Mina, near Mecca, which marks the final major rite of the Hajj pilgrimage on August 23, 2018. Muslims from across the world gather in Mecca in Saudi Arabia for the annual six-day pilgrimage, one of the five pillars of Islam, an act all Muslims must perform at least once if they have the means to travel to Saudi Arabia. / AFP PHOTO / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE

 

 

Mina, Saudi Arabia  — Thousands of cleaners are busy separating plastic from other rubbish as more than two million Muslims wrap up a pilgrimage to Mecca that presents a huge environmental challenge for Saudi Arabia.

 

The Mamuniya camp in Mina near the holy city is dotted with color-coded barrels – black for organic waste and blue for cans and plastics for recycling.

 

It’s all part of an initiative to reduce the environmental footprint of the hajj, one of the world’s largest annual gatherings.

 

More than 42,000 tons of waste are produced during the pilgrimage to Islam’s holiest sites, according of Mohammed al-Saati, head of sanitation for the Mecca municipality.

 

“We’re facing some real challenges, primarily the sheer volume of waste produced … along with the number of pilgrims, the limited space around the holy sites, different nationalities and the weather,” Saati told AFP.

 

“Islam as a religion does not encourage excess,” he added.

 

“Pilgrims can be friends of the environment. It starts by raising awareness back home,” he also said.

 

The hajj, which started on Sunday and ends on Friday, drew nearly 2.4 million Muslims from around the world this year, according to official Saudi figures.

 

More than 13,000 sanitation workers and supervisors were hired during the pilgrimage season, which saw temperatures rise to 44 degrees Celsius (111 Fahrenheit) this week.

‘Green hajj’

 

A handful of camps in the town of Mina, the site of the symbolic stoning of the devil ritual during hajj, have begun to implement plans to turn “green”, cutting back on waste and encouraging pilgrims to do their part.

 

Banners hanging near the Kaaba, a black structure inside Mecca’s Grand Mosque towards which Muslims around the world pray, also featured the recycle logo this year.

Authorities said they aim to cut waste volumes by two-thirds by 2030, Saati said, with a plan that speaks to both environmental ethics and religious belief.

 

Sorted waste collected from the pilgrimage sites will be sold to companies that handle recycling.

 

All proceeds will be given to charity in standing with the Muslim belief in “sadaqah,” or voluntary donations.

 

Workers in bright green vests made their way across the streets and alleys, picking up soda cans and plastic water bottles as pilgrims packed their things to return home.

 

Signs encouraging pilgrims to sort their waste could be seen across the Mamuniya camp – along with signs reading “Sadaqah, not litter.”

 

“The idea of an environmentally friendly camp is really important to us, to preserve the sanctity of the site,” said Hatem Mumena, the camp’s general manager.

 

But he admits there is still far to go, as the numbers of pilgrims attending hajj is expected to rise. Saudi Arabia hopes to welcome some 30 million pilgrims per year by 2030.

“This is just the beginning,” Mumena said.    /kga

  • Henry Flores

    When Jesus comes back to earth to reign as King of kings and Lord of Lords, all the nations will come to Jerusalem to worship him, and offer sacrifices for him.

    • serzed

      I understand where you’re coming from. However, you should recognize that we, human beings, come from various walks of lives. The faith we subscribe to tells us that when that time comes, Jesus (son of Mary and peace be upon him) will stop the reign of the anti christ (or more appropriately Dajjal) in Jerusalem. On that day, he will guide the believers to the right path (i.e., there is only one God, no associates – NOT 3, no beginning and end, outside of time and space, the creator of everything that exist, seen and unseen (beyond the human senses) and yet the most compassionate and most merciful). HE does not require “blood” to forgive us from our sins. HE only requires our sincere repentance and we will be forgiven. We, as human beings, are destined to make mistakes (small and the heinous ones); however, his infinite mercy gives us the guarantee that we can always go back to HIM and ask for forgiveness. We will be tested in our lives; hence, the happiness and sadness in life (i.e., peak and valleys of life or in the ancient Chinese tradition – the Yin Yan of life) but once we have the faith and conviction in HIM then nothing to worry. Have a good one and enjoy the rest of your day. Let’s pray for peace in ourselves and the rest of our fellow human beings. Peace!

      • Henry Flores

        You are familiar with the eschatology of Islam but you did not fully describe what’s going to happen according to your belief. You didn’t mention that Jesus will come to tell the Christians that they were wrong in believing that he is God. And that Jesus will point to Allah as the true God. You also didn’t mention about the Mahdi, who will be the eleventh Imam who will reign in your messianic caliphate. The ISIS believe this that is why they went out to establish a caliphate state to hasten the return of your Messiah, the Mahdi. They went in to kill thousands of innocent people because of this belief. You believe that 2/3 of the world’s population will die that is why the ISIS have been killing people to hasten the return of the Mahdi. Islam is a brutal and violent religion.

      • مانع جورج أبو ألاس

        Hello crusade? Wasn’t the massacre of thousands of Jews and Muslims in the name of Jesus wasnt violent enough? Wait, there’s more. World wars 1 and 2 killed millions. Those who killed each other weren’t Muslims. All of them were European Christians to which Filipinos copied their religion. Lastly, the ISIS are few musguided US mercenaries whose mission is to sow mischiefs in the Arab world to insure Israel. Muslims all over the world condemn ISIS and even in the Philippines only the Abu Sayyaf bandits support them. Likewise, the Imam Mahdi drama that you are talking about is but a belief of one sect of people, Shiites who believes it and not the mainstream Muslim majority.

      • Henry Flores

        The RCC is a false religion and not the same as evangelical Christianity.

        This is what you memorize and quote in your religion.

        “Allah is our Lord, Mohammed is our Leader, Qur’an is our Constitution, Shariah is our Law, Jihad(Juramentado) is our way to Paradise, to Chop Off the hands and heads of unbelievers/infidels and take their women, wives, daughters and bring them into our harems as sex slaves & chattels, is our Sacred Duty….Quran(3:28, 3:85, 5:33, 8:12, 8:60, 8:65, 9:5, 9:30, 9:123, 22:19, Quran (47:4) “We do not hanker for peace with the infidels/unbelievers; We will behead them when we catch them. Allahu Akhbar!!”

      • serzed

        @ Henry – Ah, there you go… the typical Google Sheik and copy paste approach just to prove a point. At this stage it is clear that this is no longer a healthy discussion given the immaturity of such posts. I can do the same for your books and the passages are even worse. Further, you interpreted such verses using your own lens (i.e., preconceived ideas, prejudice and ignoring the context). You’re currently employing the tactics of some “atheist” folks proving the point that God is a pie in the sky or a fairy tale. You cannot be more hypocrite than that (i.e., double standard). I will not stoop to your level but rather pray to the Creator that you will mature and has the sincerity in seeking knowledge and the truth. Your books are very clear….seek the truth and the truth will set you free. Hypocrisy and arrogance are diametrically opposite to humility and sincerity. Enjoy the rest of your day.

      • serzed

        @Henry – The statements I expressed earlier was to provide you with my version (two sides of the same coin if you will) regarding the second coming. It was not my intention to insult your faith but rather share my side of the story. If we could stick to the core beliefs rather than taking our worst examples and then we should be in a mature environment.

      • serzed

        @george – I know you have a good intention here (i.e., trying to defend your faith or your family). However, let’s try to be fair and honest as well to our approach. Henry ‘s statement equating IS*S with the 1.8 billion people on this planet is fallacy 101. Bringing up crusade to make a point is tantamount to saying Germans are inherently evil because look what Hitler did to Jews. My analogy to this is like meeting an alien and he will tell me that humans cannot be trusted because we kill one another. Humans are illogical, ego maniac and self-centered . The truth is some of us are really illogical, ego maniac and self-centered (probably including myself). However, that is not fair for the majority of us (the human beings) who exercise compassion and sympathy to others.Our faith tells us that when Allah told the angels that HE was going to place Adam (mankind) on earth, the angels said: “Will You place therein those who will make mischief therein and shed blood, – while we glorify You with praises and thanks (Exalted be You above all that they associate with You as partners) and sanctify You.” He (Allah) said: “I know that which you do not know.” [2:30]

        Oftentimes, we judge ourselves based on our best intentions and we judge others by their worst examples. Enjoy the rest of day, bro.