RIYADH: Hundreds of volunteers from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology and the broader community in Thuwal have removed waste from verges on a section from KAUST to Jeddah Highway.
The initiative was led by KAUST’s strategic national advancement’s social responsibility team as part of its “Green Roads” initiative.
The Green Roads initiative marks KAUST’s commitment to developing a greener future through the sustainable development of road infrastructure.
The initiative, developed in collaboration with Dow Chemical Company and NAPCO, aims to protect the environment through a framework that encompasses the four “Rs”: Reduce, Remove, Reuse and Recycle.
KAUST said that the plastic waste collected would be used to demonstrate the potential of an innovative process technology that allows plastic to made into a sustainable bitumen using a conventional modifier.
The goal is to construct a road in the heart of KAUST with the new sustainable road material.
During the Green Roads event, volunteers removed waste from the side of Highway 55 — stretching across a total distance of 90 km — between the KAUST and Dhahban junctions.
The Green Road is expected to sustain increased exposure to tough external factors such as high temperatures and traffic loads, reducing road maintenance. Averda, experts in waste management, have also offered their support for the initiative by removing any toxic or non-collectible items from the side of the highway.
Dr. Najah Ashry, senior associate to the president and vice president, strategic national advancement at KAUST, said: “The Green Roads initiative illustrates the enormous potential for an innovative sustainable solution that can reduce the environmental impact of road construction as well as the costs associated with maintaining road infrastructure.”
“We are proud to have KAUST champion an initiative that helps realize the sustainability goals of both the Kingdom and the United Nations, while engaging and empowering local communities to play their part in the transition from a linear economy to a circular one, tackling global challenges like climate change, biodiversity loss, waste and pollution.”
Professor Tony Chan, president of KAUST, commented on the university’s role in contributing to environmental sustainability.
“The Green Roads initiative underpins our focus on exploring ways in which we can cooperate with partners to accelerate the development of technologies that can best contribute to a sustainable future, and position Saudi Arabia as one of the most innovative, progressive and environmentally sustainable countries in the world,” he said.
“We continue to lead by example, helping foster sustainability across the Kingdom in an effort to build a better future for the Kingdom and the next generation.”