Saudi Gazette report
MADINAH – The accumulation of debris of demolished buildings near the central region of Madinah has been causing environment pollution threatening lives of citizens and visitors, and authorities have been urged to remove the debris quickly before Ramadan when millions of Muslim faithful from around the world visit the Prophet’s Mosque.
The debris of buildings in the eastern part of the Prophet’s Mosque, adjacent to Baqee graveyard, has been lying there for months threatening safety and security of citizens. Efforts should have been made to remove the debris including metals, cement blocks, plastics, wooden pieces and other construction materials, in order to arrange the area for worshipers to pray in ease and comfort.
Hundreds of thousands of Muslim faithful line up for the five-time prayers as well as taraweeh and late night prayers during the fasting month of Ramadan. Leftovers of demolition works are likely to cause an environmental and health catastrophe affecting residents and visitors.
“The accumulation of demolished construction material near the Prophet’s Mosque tarnishes the image of the holy city,” said Abdul Haq Al-Aqabi while speaking to Al-Madina Arabic daily. “It not only gives a bad impression about Madinah and its progress but also pollutes environment and causes health problems to citizens and residents,” he explained.
Al-Madina correspondent visited the area and found that buildings have been razed down without following safety and security measures to protect people passing by the area. Cement blocks have been removed from the place. The demolition work also threatens people who go to the Prophet’s Mosque from neighboring residential districts.
“These kinds of problems are likely to increase in future if authorities fail to take corrective action now,” Al-Aqabi said. “I call upon relevant authorities and departments to intervene immediately to remove the debris and clean the area,” he added.
He spoke about overlapping of authorities in dealing with matters related to demolition work the area as the municipality is in charge of carrying out municipal projects while the Madinah Development Authority supervises implementation of various development projects in the city. The demolition works are being carried out on the instruction of the Finance Ministry.
“There is confusion in determining the agency responsible for removing the debris,” he said and called for immediate efforts to make use of the area for receiving thousands of worshippers.
Abdul Qader Hafiz emphasized the need to remove the debris from the area, which has been designated by the governorate under the leadership of region’s Emir Prince Faisal Bin Salman for human welfare and development. “The governorate has already started implementing such human welfare projects in some districts of Madinah,” he told the Arabic daily.
He said the area would be developed shortly, adding color and beauty to the city. “The new project aims at developing underdeveloped residential districts in Madinah and creating a human friendly atmosphere, protecting environment and health of citizens and residents,” he added.
Meanwhile, a responsible source at the Madinah Development Authority said it was not responsible for the ongoing demolition work near the Prophet’s Mosque. “We implement security and safety standards in coordination with other government agencies while carrying out projects in the central region of Madinah,” the source told Al-Madina.
The public relations and media department at Madinah municipality also said it was not responsible for supervising demolition work in the area. “The place mentioned in the report does not belong to the municipality and it comes under the Finance Ministry,” it added.