Over 900 volunteers take part in Jeddah beach cleanup

After collecting trash, participants in Friday's drive at Salman Beach assemble for a short ceremony before having their lunch picnic.

After collecting trash, participants in Friday’s drive at Salman Beach assemble for a short ceremony before having their lunch picnic.

Piles of garbage were removed in a massive cleanup on Friday at the Salman Beach in Bouhayrat district of Jeddah’s north Obhur area, popular among beachgoers but also notorious for trash.

Organized by the APOCEA (Alliance of Pro-Active Organizations-Center for Environmental Advocacy), Friday’s campaign was probably the biggest of its kind in the Kingdom, with more than 900 registered volunteers participating.

Apart from members of 40 Filipino community and professional organizations, the participants included students from different Philippine schools in Jeddah, who came in four buses. Philippine Consul General Leo Tito Ausan Jr. also led his own staff and some organizations came in full force. Others came with family members.

“What was even more inspiring and fun about this campaign was that when our volunteers swooped down on the coast, other beach goers of different nationalities also started picking trash and brought their haul to the designated collection station,” APOCEA founding chairman Mohamad Peddie H. Holanda told Arab News.

Holanda, an engineer and ocean conservancy advocate, said awareness is a very important component of the environmental campaign because cleanup drives would be rendered useless if beach goers do not exercise a modicum of responsibility. “We all have a profound stake in a healthy ocean that is free of trash and marine debris,” he said.

Apart from APO alumni and family members, the volunteers came from ADAMAS NU OMEGA Alumni Association, Al Badr International School, ACT CIS, Binidayadain, IPSJ- International Philippine School in Jeddah, COMSOFIL-Computer Society for Filipinos Jeddah Chapter, KASAPI, MOSLEM- Maranao Overseas for saving Lakelanao Environment Movement, BALOI & Lanao del Norte Overseas Muslim Expatiate association, BOFWAM-Basilan Overseas Filipino Workers Association of Mindanao, Boholano OFW, FIMAA – Filipino International Martial Arts Association, Guardians Brotherhood.

Jeddah Bikerz Group, Jeddah R.C. CLUB, Catholic Group, Design Unit Staff & Family, Jeddah Pongers Tennis Club, Kapit Bisig Cooperative/OFW, Kulay Community Photographers, Lanao Lakers, MARCA-Environmental Photographers, NUNUNGAN International Organization, OFWCC, OKOR – Order of the Knights of Rizal, PARSONS Staff & Family, PGBI-Philippine Guardians Brotherhood Incorporated, PICE – Philippine Institute of Civil Engineers, PICPA – Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountant, PSME-WRKSA Jeddah Chapter, Ranao Divers International & Family, Samahang Magdalo International, SHAKBA International Association, SPTC-Samahang Pinoy Tennis Club, SPECTRUM Photographers.

Scout Royale Brotherhood-SRB KSA AA-WR, UMEA – United Maguindanao Expatriate Organization, Anak SUG Taif KSA, HOG-Harley Owners Group, United Ilocandia-Jeddah Chapter .

The cleanup activity started at 6 a.m. and ended at 11 a.m., after which the participants had a picnic lunch provided by sponsors of the events: Parsons, Alhamrani Fuchs Petroleum Saudi Arabia Ltd., Total, Design Unit for Engineering and Consultancy, and Petromin. These partner companies also provided the logistics required for the cleanup drive, including tents.

Engineer Mike S. Ali, APOCEA director for the Middle East, noted that the group started its environmental activities in 2007 by picking up trash left by picnickers at Jeddah’s Corniche and has expanded into advocacy and awareness campaigns. The group’s original members were mostly alumni of one of the biggest student fraternity organizations in the Philippines, the Alpha Phi Omega (APO). APO in the Western Region of Saudi Arabia is also one of the most active Filipino civic groups in the Kingdom.

Among the APO founders of APOCEA, aside from Holanda and Ali, are Ashary Tamano, Ferdie Tampi, Macario Boy Antenor, all in Saudi Arabia, Tammy Sulaiman in Kuwait, and Florinda Perez oin Australia.

 
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