What’s Up, Saudi Arabia?

On March 4th, the emerging team in Saudi Arabia took action and organized a cleanup for the first time. It was a small action of 12 volunteers, but a valuable lesson for the organizing team. “We not only cleaned, but we also sorted the waste to plastic, metal, and paper. Sorting was doable as the area is usually visited by hiking teams, who leave sortable waste, said Lujain Alobaid, a leader for Let’s Do It! Saudi Arabia, whom we managed to have a quick chat with.

The thumbs are up after Saudi Arabia’s very first Let’s Do It! cleanup action. Photo: Let’s Do It! Saudi Arabia

Tell us a bit about the trash problem in Saudi Arabia.

Initially, Saudi Arabia lacks a coherent waste management code and system. The situation exacerbated during the past ten years as the Kingdom witnessed significant waves of industrialization, high population growth, and rapid urbanization. And although there are two to four municipality-sized facilities for paper and plastic recycling, less than 10% is actually being recycled as till date the Kingdom does not sort at the source. Moreover, the government has been claiming its care to the cause, yet no effective efforts have been seen yet. However, with the national transformation vision of 2030, they are willing to support and bless young leaders, who will take the initiative.

What are your three essentials of a successful clean-up?

First, the preparation of the cleanup tools and of course the team. Second, geographical know-how. Third, energy and enthusiasm.

Your recipe for getting back in the saddle when feeling tired, unmotivated and/ or hopeless?

No matter what, always keep looking at your eventual goal and you’ll reach!

How is your team preparing for the World Cleanup Day in 2018?

Every member is doing their task until we receive the official permits from Saudi authorities.

While waiting for the official permissions, we are connecting with local volunteer groups and arranging for larger-scale cleanups. Also, our website is being developed by the agency and four more cleanups are coming up in the end of April.

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