Saudis creating smaller green footprint, one tree at a time

Fri, 2021-11-05 23:26

JEDDAH: Under the slogan “Make Saudi Greener,” communities are gearing up and grabbing their shovels to plant trees across the country.

With the Saudi Green Initiative Forum wrapping up last week, it is no surprise that the impact of the forum’s outcome was felt across the Kingdom. The message was loud and clear: We need to save the planet and it starts at home.

One such group that heard the call was the Hejaz Ploggers, a group of volunteers that organize cleaning initiatives, rubbish collection walks, and more to give back to the community.

The group collaborated last Friday with Butat Garden to spread awareness about the importance of planting and contributing to a better environment while also helping fight climate change.

The volunteers planted green shrubs and saplings to educate children and build better habits.

The volunteers got their hands dirty, dug holes for saplings and other small plants such as Sidr, a fragrant local tree known for its medicinal use, all in the name of fun and to help save the environment.

Fatmah Farid organized the event and told Arab News she was very excited: “It was an eye-opening experience as planting is vital not only for the environment but for us as well.”

Though you do not have to have a green thumb to learn to plant a tree, the experience can be therapeutic. It helps bring community members together to grow stronger bonds and work together as a team for a worthy cause.

Abdulrahman Al-Ruqi, the head of quality and development department in Hejaz Ploggers, told Arab News there is a global trend that seeks to combat global warming and limit the rise in global temperatures. He referenced Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s ambitious afforestation initiative and as a member of the community, he wanted to be more engaging and do his part.

“The Saudi Green Initiative includes planting 10 billion trees, restoring 40 million hectares, increasing the area covered with trees 12 times, and reducing carbon emissions by 4 percent of what is required globally,” he said.

“The SGI was a great motivator and guide for us as Hejaz Ploggers volunteers work on challenging current habits. We are also promoting the environmental responsibility of the community to contribute to achieving the goals of both the Saudi Green Initiative and the Middle East Initiative.”

Last month, thousands of Riyadh residents turned out to take part in a tree-planting project as part of the Khadra Ya Darna (Greener Home) initiative launched to celebrate the 91st Saudi National Day on Sept. 23.

The trees are being planted close to King Khalid International Airport in the shape of the map of Saudi Arabia, which covers an area of 170,000 square meters and will be visible from the air to travelers as they arrive in the Kingdom.

The volunteers planted green shrubs and saplings to educate children. (Supplied)
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