(MENAFN - Arab News) The government spends a whopping SR 3 billion a year on collecting garbage from Makkah's streets, said Abdul Aziz Khudairi, undersecretary at the Makkah governor's office.
Khudairi said this money could be spent on more important projects.
He said the mayoralty recently penalized the contractor responsible for garbage collection in Makkah for dereliction of duty.
"The mayoralty did not offer apologies or justifications for what Makkah witnessed recently," he said. "We moved right away to solve the problem involving 6,500 workers not being paid on time and going on strike, leaving the city to be contaminated with decomposing waste," he added.
This incident in Makkah, he said, has made officials consider how matters are handled in other cities of the Kingdom, including ways to use advanced technology in this field.
Khudairi said the sight of garbage workers begging citizens for money in the streets is a problem created by citizens. "Had citizens refused to give money to begging workers, begging would not have become so common in the streets," he said.
The mayoralty is launching an initiative under the theme, "Makkah's Cleanliness is My Responsibility." The aim of this campaign is to promote the concept of sustained community work.
Khudairi said the initiative is part of a broader program run by the Ministry of Education for the promotion of behavior and conduct outlined by the Prophet (peace be upon him). "The cleanliness of Makkah must become a reality so that the holiest place on earth is also the cleanest," he said.