New Haramain High Speed Railway transported over 2 million Hajj pilgrims

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Pilgrims are seen boarding a train at Makkah’s train station. (File/AFP)
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Pilgrims are seen boarding a train at Makkah’s train station. (File/AFP)
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A pilgrim on his way to Makkah is served Arabic coffee on the Haramain High-Speed Railway train in the holy city of Madinah, Saudi Arabia, Thursday, Aug. 8, 2019. (AP)
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Pilgrims are seen on board a train at Makkah’s train station. (File/AFP)
Updated 16 August 2019
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New Haramain High Speed Railway transported over 2 million Hajj pilgrims

  • The trains are operated by the Saudi Railways Company
  • More than 1,700 employees from different disciplines were working on the trains

RIYADH: The CEO of the Saudi Railways Company (SAR), Dr. Bashar bin Khaled Al-Malik, announced that 2,333,748 pilgrims have been transported on 2,170 train journeys.

He said that this comes as part of the safe and convenient transport plan that meets the aspirations of the Saudi leadership, especially after the Cabinet assigned SAR in May 2019 the provision of the train services, its maintenance and operation.

Figures published by SAR showed that 340,035 pilgrims were transported by the Al-Mashaaer Al-Mugaddassah Metro to Mount Arafat, over 353,434 were transported to Muzdalifah, 377,199 from Muzdalifah to Mina, and 1,246,422 to the Jamarat facilities during the days of Tashreeq.




The Haramain high-speed train takes just 3 hours to travel between the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah. (SPA photo)

SAR has devoted over 1,700 employees, including engineers, technicians, drivers and supervisors, for the operation and maintenance of the Al-Mashaaer Al-Mugaddassah Metro, which serves the pilgrims.

Al-Malik highlighted that “the harmony between SAR’s employees has contributed to the implementation of the operation plan according to the adopted mechanism and with high efficiency.”

He thanked the Makkah Region Development Authority for its effective role in operating the Al-Mashaaer Al-Mugaddassah Metro and serving the pilgrims. He also thanked Makkah Gov. Prince Khalid Al-Faisal, adviser to King Salman, and Interior Minister Prince Abdul Aziz bin Saud bin Naif, chairman of the Hajj Supreme Committee, for their keenness to serve pilgrims through ensuring the operation and maintenance of the metro.

The chief of SAR confirmed the readiness of the metro and the completion of corrective and pre-emptive maintenance and trial operations, in addition to the application of 23 presumptions that contributed to the success of the trains’ operation plan this season.


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