Efforts of Saudi transport ministry during Hajj lauded

An aerial view shows buses parked after dropping Muslim pilgrims off near Mount Arafat, also known as Jabal al-Rahma (Mount of Mercy), southeast of the Saudi holy city of Makkah, on Arafat Day which is the climax of the Hajj pilgrimage, in this August 31, 2017 photo. (AFP)
Updated 11 September 2017
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Efforts of Saudi transport ministry during Hajj lauded

RIYADH: Minister of Transport Sulaiman Al-Hamdan has expressed gratitude to the staff of the ministry, the General Transport Authority (GTA), General Ports Authority (GPA), and General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) for their integrated work with other Hajj agencies to serve pilgrims during the just-concluded Hajj season.
He said efforts of all transport sectors came together in response to the directives of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman through the application of set plans, and in coordination with other security and service sectors.
More than 1,776 employees of different transport sectors participated in serving pilgrims at the holy sites and roads leading to the sites, airports, and ports receiving pilgrims, according to a report released by the ministry.
The ministry mobilized all its material and human resources to implement plans including the transportation of more than 2.3 million pilgrims throughout the season.
Ministry work also included road maintenance at the holy sites; rock-cutting work between the Arafat and Muzdalifah facilities to protect pilgrims from possible rock slides; implementation of security check points on the outskirts of Makkah; and support of security control centers on all major roads, which resulted in the detection of 2,895 cars that had violated Hajj regulations, the report said.
The GTA controlled prices of public transportation, their efficiency and safety, and passenger transport services from car park areas to the Grand Mosque and the holy sites. It also participated in the operation of the Mashaer Railway which was used by more than 2 million pilgrims, the report said.
For its part, the GPA prepared ports to receive pilgrims through allocation of terminals for arrival and departure purposes; customs services; modernization of security and TV camera systems; and preparation of loading equipment to cope with the increased traffic of the Hajj season, the report said.
Meanwhile, Saudi ports witnessed intensive activity during the Hajj season where Jeddah Islamic Port (JIP) received 14,872 pilgrims on 18 ships, the report said. In general, the Saudi ports received 2 million heads of livestock, 1 million tons of general goods and 378,344 containers during the season.
In the same manner, the GACA played a key role in the success of the Hajj season by coordinating air operations to schedule flights with the operating companies, and providing services to pilgrims at King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah and Prince Mohammed bin Abdul Aziz International Airport in Madinah, the report said.
At King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah, the GACA organized and received 4,863 flights for 966,546,000 pilgrims through 95 air companies, while it received 675,701,000 pilgrims through 3,156 flights at Prince Mohammed bin Abdul Aziz International Airport in Madinah.
The capacity of the two airports increased by 40 percent compared to figures from last year, the report said.


Clean sweep: Marine waste targeted in Red Sea tourism program

The program for eliminating marine debris will play an important material and moral role with the support of the residents of areas surrounding the seafront. (SPA)
Updated 22 September 2019

Clean sweep: Marine waste targeted in Red Sea tourism program

  • Debris major cause of death for marine life
  • Disintegration of plastic waste threaten human food resources

JEDDAH: A beach cleanup program targeting marine waste has been launched by the Red Sea Development Co. (TRSDC), the Saudi Press Agency reported.
The firm, which is behind the development of a luxury seafront tourism destination in Saudi Arabia, is already developing a range of environment-friendly policies such as zero-waste-to-landfill, zero-discharge-to-the-sea, zero-single-use plastics, and achieving 100 percent carbon neutrality. On Saturday it launched the Marine Debris Beach Clean Up Program as part of the Red Sea Project. “Eliminating marine debris is receiving increasing attention from the media that it has become a global cause, urging us to participate in protecting our virgin environment for which our seafront is known,” said TRSDC CEO John Pagano.
“The program for eliminating marine debris will play an important material and moral role with the support of the residents of areas surrounding the seafront. It will also shed light on the importance of reducing the use of nonrecyclable plastics, in addition to encouraging the disposing of these substances in a safe and sustainable manner.”
The TRSDC will continue to explore ways for recycled materials to be a source of employment opportunities for the area’s residents, he added. 
TRSDC is an official partner of the United Nations’ initiative to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the cleanup program will initially support two SDGs: Life Below Water and Life on Land. It will expand to support other SDGs, including Responsible Consumption and Production, Sustainable Cities and Communities, Decent Work and the Growth of the Economy, Ending Poverty, and Quality Education.

HIGHLIGHTS

• TRSDC is an official partner of the United Nations’ initiative to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the cleanup program will initially support two SDGs: Life Below Water and Life on Land.

• It will expand to support other SDGs, including Responsible Consumption and Production, Sustainable Cities and Communities, Decent Work and the Growth of the Economy, Ending Poverty, and Quality Education.

• Institutions or individuals wishing to take part in the beach cleanup program can find more details here: www.act4sdgs.org/partner/TheRedSeaProject

Dr. Rusty Brainard, chief environment officer at TRSDC, said: “Marine debris causes significant damage to the environment and is a major cause of death for many marine organism species, which may ingest these substances. Moreover, the disintegration of plastic waste into small pieces that penetrate into the food web base may also threaten human food resources. Our program for eliminating marine litter is a long-term project that includes ongoing monitoring of environmental health, as well as periodic intervention to clean up any waste in the Red Sea Project.”
TRSDC has teamed up with leading academic institutions in the Kingdom, such as King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) and the University of Tabuk, on a number of educational initiatives, added Brainard.
The partnership between TRSDC and KAUST has led to an international competition — “Brains for Brine” — that encourages academics, scientists, engineers and the water industry to find solutions for managing the disposal of brine, which is a waste product of water desalination, in a sustainable and commercially viable way.
KAUST has also helped TRSDC with marine spatial planning for the Red Sea Project.
As part of the planning process, major environmental studies were carried out to ensure that the area’s sensitive ecology was protected both during and after completion of the development.
The final master plan, which preserves around 75 percent of the destination’s islands for conservation and designates nine islands as sites of significant ecological value, required several redesigns to avoid potential disruption to endangered species native to the area.
Institutions or individuals wishing to take part in the beach clean-up program can find more details here: www.act4sdgs.org/partner/TheRedSeaProject