Saudi youth on mission to clean up Red Sea

Saudi youths have introduced major initiatives to fight pollution in the Red Sea around Jeddah. (AN photo by Yaheya Ishfaq)
Updated 28 April 2018

Saudi youth on mission to clean up Red Sea

  • The initiatives raise awareness of crucial environmental issues such as the effect of plastic particles on marine life
  • The initiatives are Global Shapers-Jeddah Hub, Naqaa Sustainability Solutions and Greenzie

JEDDAH: The Red Sea offers much for divers to discover — corals, marine life, pearls and more — but they also see the plastic bottles, old furniture and fishing tools that impact marine life and kill coral reefs.

Three Saudi youth initiatives have raised awareness of the problem by marking Earth Day, celebrated on April 22, and highlighting crucial environmental issues such as the effect of plastic particles on marine life, especially in the Red Sea around Jeddah.

The three initiatives are Global Shapers-Jeddah Hub, Naqaa Sustainability Solutions and Greenzie.

Global Shapers, in cooperation with Greenzie, have organized a workshop to present the efforts of Saudi youths to keep the Red Sea coral reefs safe and to protect marine life. 

The theme of the workshop, “The Land Beneath Our Red Sea,” — held on Wednesday at The Spot in Jeddah — a workspace that allows freelancers and entrepreneurs to evolve their business ideas by providing them with an environment which is motivating and creative.

The workshop included four speakers: Muna Othman, social entrepreneur, Nouf Alosaim, first Saudi female Scuba diver instructor, Captin Rebhi Skaik, who has a Guinness record for holding the largest flag unfurled underwater, and Abdulrahman Saati, master scuba diver.

Nouf Alosaim told Arab News: “During one of my scuba diving trips to clean the polluted Red Sea I was shocked at what I saw as it was a totally different world where the reef was full of wires and ropes.” 

She added: “One human touch for coral reefs and it will turn to a dead white rock, we need to intensify teamwork in this regard to have healthier marine life.” 

Coral reefs are nursery areas for small fish and other organisms and it is dangerous to remove or destroy them, affecting fish stocks in the future. Reefs also protect coasts from storms and waves, lessening the power of large waves to reach the shore and reducing their destructive power.

Abdulrahman Saati said: “Our vision is to build community seekers and to sustain the community by enjoying our healthy earth and nature. We need to have a sustainable ecosystem, and social awareness is always part of our message.”

He added: “Ten percent of the great creatures are only found in our Red Sea, the rest is still hidden, and 2,000km of the Red Sea reefs are coral so we need to keep them safe, not only because they look so beautiful but because they contribute to producing oxygen.” 

Skaik said: “In March 2018, I was the leader of an initiative that was launched to clean the depths of the Jeddah sea with the participation of more than 100 Saudi divers. The aim was to clean the coral basin below the surface and remove all remains of fishing and remnants from previous beach visitors that have accumulated over more than 10 years.”

“Since the beginning of 2018, my team of divers and I have collected 2.5 tons of objects from the Jeddah Red Sea from only six dives,” he said.

Muna Othman, co-founder and head of Naqaa Sustainability Solutions social enterprise, established in 2012, said: “Our main vision is to help companies and organizations to adopt eco-friendly practices, go green and manage recyclable waste.”

She added: “We want to raise environmental awareness in society. We also try to collaborate with people who have a similar interest and passion, as we have with Global Shapers to commemorate Earth Day, by spreading awareness about cleaning our shores to end plastic pollution in the sea in Jeddah.”

Jeddah municipality has detected several violations committed by visitors at the new Jeddah waterfront through surveillance cameras, and Makkah Gov. Prince Khalid Al-Faisal advised people to keep their waterfront clean.

Greenzie is another local initiative that aims to bring together scientific and human understanding of the environment in a way that can be widely communicated and lead to effective actions. 

Mohammed Tomalieh, head of Global Shapers Community, Jeddah Hub, told Arab News: “Global Shapers is all about volunteer work. In Jeddah, we have 19 global shapers from different backgrounds with 70 percent women and 30 percent men including musicians, doctors, accountants, consultants and psychologists. They all work with their own passion to create change.”


Diriyah Gate to be a global, historical and cultural landmark

Updated 22 November 2019

Diriyah Gate to be a global, historical and cultural landmark

  • Diriyah is home to Al-Turaif District, built in 1744 and known as one of the largest clay cities in the world

DIRIYAH: With the establishment of the Diriyah Gate Development Authority (DGDA), the historical site of Diriyah will become one of the largest and most important international destinations.

The DGDA seeks to transform the site into a location to host activities and events aimed at exchanging historical and cultural knowledge through museums and venues spread throughout
Al-Turaif District.

 The DGDA aims to celebrate the people of Diriyah by telling their stories and demonstrating their social, cultural and historical the roots, as the cradle of the first Saudi state and a symbol of the beauty of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and
its people.

 Diriyah is home to Al-Turaif District, built in 1744 and known as one of the largest clay cities in the world. It was registered by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 2010 — one of five Saudi sites listed.

Not far from Al-Turaif District is the historic Al-Bujairi District, which was a center for spreading science and knowledge during the prosperity of Diriyah, as the capital of the first Saudi state. 

Today it houses many commercial centers and cafes and is the perfect destination to experience Saudi cuisine.

One of the historical landmarks in Al-Turaif District is Salwa Palace, which is located in the northeastern part. It is the largest of its landmarks and spans over 10,000 square meters. It was founded by Imam Abdul Aziz bin Mohammed bin Saud in 1765, and is historically known as the home of the first royal family. 

The palace houses the Diriyah Museum, which presents the history and development of the first Saudi state through works of art, drawings, models and documentaries.

BACKGROUND

At the northern end of old Diriyah, the town of Ghusaybah sits atop of a plateau surrounded by the Hanifa Valley on three sides.

Salwa Palace forms an integrated architectural system with its residential, administrative, cultural and religious units.

 Al-Turaif District also includes the Imam Muhammad bin Saud Mosque, known as the Great Mosque or Al-Turaif Mosque. It is adjacent to Salwa Palace on the north side, and Imams used to lead Friday prayers there.

 To make movement between the mosque and the palace easier, Imam Saud bin Abdul Aziz built a bridge to connect them on the upper floor. The mosque houses a religious school to teach religious sciences. It was formerly the largest mosque in the Arabian Peninsula and was built to symbolize the strength and unity of the Saudi state.

 At the northern end of old Diriyah, the town of Ghusaybah sits atop of a plateau surrounded by the Hanifa Valley on three sides. It was settled by Mani’ Al-Muraydi, the oldest ancestor of the House of Saud, in the 15th century. 

Ghusaybah is a well-established location, carefully chosen for the establishment of the new governorate, and its location played a major role in the protection of Hajj convoys and trade passing through its areas of influence in Al-Arid region.

 Ghusaybah was the seat of an independent governorate before the founding of the first Saudi state. It provided protection for the northern gate of Diriyah during the campaign of Ibrahim Pasha in 1818.

 Samhan is one of the historical areas south of Ghusaybeh on a triangle overlooking the valley when it meets another tributary, the villages of Omran. It directly overlooks the districts of Qusayrin, Mrayih, and Al-Turaif. This location was important during the reign of Imam Mohammed bin Saud and his son Samhan, being a well-fortified site during the siege of Diriyah. It was selected by Imam Abdullah to be his defense headquarters.

 In the field of philanthropy, one may mention “Sabala Moudhi” which was founded by Imam Abdul Aziz bin Mohammed bin Saud, who made it a charitable endowment in the name of his mother, Moudhi bint Sultan bin Abi Wahtan, wife of Imam Mohammed bin Saud. 

It is located east of the Salwa Palace on the southeast of Al-Turaif District. It is a two-story building and was established to provide free accommodation for visitors coming to the city of Diriyah.