Volunteers in Saudi Arabia’s Western Region have hit the trails as part of an environmental initiative to clean up the outdoors.
The “Trails Clean-Up Programme” saw men, women and children fill more than 29 white rubbish bags with plastic waste and cans picked up from Al-Jammalah trail, a vital area for Taif’s cultural heritage.
The trail holds great historical value, as people in Makkah and Taif used the path until 1953 before the construction of the Taif-Makkah Road via Al-Kar.
The program, an initiative branched from Earth Trails For Hiking, encourages volunteers from different regions and ages to clean up national trails in the Kingdom. “People used to clean up beaches, parks and streets. However, natural trails need more attention by all nature enthusiasts and the public. We encourage hikers, athletes, and nature lovers to enjoy the hike on trails with us and do some good. The initiative inspires people to recreate responsibly by cleaning up litter on our trails and natural spaces,” said Dr. Shadi Badawood, the general manager of Earth Trails.
“We do have a partnership agreement with the American Leave No Trace organization to encourage outdoor enthusiasts to consider the impacts that they leave behind, which will undoubtedly affect other people, water and wildlife,” added Badawood, who is a Leave No Trace trainer.
He said that the natural trails offer an opportunity to find “serenity and beauty” and enjoy some quality time with friends and family, but “the frequent activities and heavy use of natural spaces negatively influence our trails and mountains.”
“For this reason, we educate volunteers about the leave no trace principles and decomposing time for each waste item while doing the hike trip as part of the Trails Clean-Up Programme,” explained Badawood.
Badawood explained that while many people love to explore the outdoors, they do not always think about the environmental impact during an adventure. He said that the program aims to make people start thinking again about increasing awareness in communities about the harmful effects of plastic bags and water bottles on the environment.
“I love to participate in cleaning up initiatives, but this program motivated me to do something new and look closely at our national trails and give more attention to our natural spaces,” said Abdurahim Al-Harthi, a volunteer from Trails Clean-Up.