By Richard Lockhart

The campaign resulted in in the removal and disposal of 100 tons of nonhazardous waste.

Volunteers Show Commitment to Clean Up Dhahran-Abqaiq Highway
Plenty of trash needs to be picked up. And there is more underground.

On May 2, more than 800 volunteers from Aramco’s Drilling and Workover (D&WO), in collaboration with the Eastern Province Amana, the Ematah cleaning awareness program, Saudi Red Crescent Authority, Saudi Special Forces for Roads Security, and other corporate stakeholders and contractors, joined forces to pick up trash and construction debris at two locations on the Dhahran-Abqaiq Highway 30 kilometers from Dhahran. Organized by D&WO, the effort came after months of planning and collaboration with stakeholders to secure the necessary permits and authorizations.

“A successful campaign to clean up the environment reflects our collective commitment toward a better tomorrow. Through collaboration and hard work, we can transform spaces into thriving environments. D&WO will continue to work together and inspire many to join us on this journey toward a cleaner, greener future.”

— Abdul Hameed A. Al Rushaid, D&WO senior vice president

Volunteers Show Commitment to Clean Up Dhahran-Abqaiq Highway
Abdul Hameed A. Al Rushaid talks to colleagues taking part in the clean-up.

Positive Atmosphere

The volunteers arrived on-site from Dhahran in a fleet of buses, and organizers gave everyone a high-visibility vest, gloves, biodegradable waste collection bags, and a litter picker to assist in the cleanup effort. The positive atmosphere was buoyed by friends and colleagues taking part in impromptu competitions to see who could pick up the most trash.

“It has been fascinating. We have been competing, who collects more waste, and you’d be surprised how much waste is actually under the ground. You actually have to dig it up,” said Layth Odeh, a contractor in the D&WO Training Division’s Quality and Assurance Group.

Volunteers Show Commitment to Clean Up Dhahran-Abqaiq Highway
Participants in the cleanup pose during the event.

Education and Legacy

The campaign proved to be D&WO’s largest and most successful to date, resulting in the removal and disposal of 100 tons of nonhazardous waste.

“As the campaign continues and extends into the local schools through awareness sessions specifically designed to encourage responsible waste management practices within Saudi youth, it’s our hope that these efforts inspire others to follow our lead and work together toward a cleaner, healthier world.”

— Abdullah M. Al Haidari, manager of D&WO’s Drilling Operational Excellence and Compliance Division

The volunteers cleaned up 3.4 km of roadside, collecting plastic bags, bottles, and wastepaper.

In addition, organizers and volunteers distributed thousands of educational pamphlets in multiple languages to further support the Ematah program, which works to raise environmental awareness, encourage cleanliness, enhance knowledge, and change environmental behaviors by promoting sustainable environmental concepts, correcting environmental behavior, and achieving environmental sustainability through an educated society capable of positively interacting with its environment.

Setting an inspiring example and creating a long-lasting legacy is a key goal of the stakeholders’ efforts.

“It’s the kind of message that we are sending. We owe it to ourselves, to our people, to our community, to everyone working with us. It starts with us first, and continues with others.”

— Salem D. Qahtani, acting director of Workover Operations in the Northern Area Workover Department

“It’s passing the message to them (the workforce and volunteers) what you did is great. In that way they will just continue with their efforts more and more,” Qahtani added.

Volunteers Show Commitment to Clean Up Dhahran-Abqaiq Highway
Traffic rolls by as D&WO volunteers fill their trash bags.

Effort and Enthusiasm

“This has been a tremendous effort,” said organizer Rashid Alrashid, a field compliance coordinator in D&WO’s Drilling Operational Excellence and Compliance Division. “We are not stopping here as we begin to visit schools and host awareness sessions with students ensuring they are a force of change and ultimately becoming good stewards of the environment.”

The volunteer army also featured colleagues from outside companies that work closely with D&WO, and they were keen to follow Aramco’s example of promoting environmental stewardship and civic awareness.

Hani Al Maimani from oil field services company Weatherford, said: “Usually when an initiative comes from an organization such as Aramco, it motivates everybody and sets a good example. Such initiatives are not new to Aramco, but the frequency is increasing, which is very important.

“It’s just 20 or 30 minutes, but the effect of this will be huge. It teaches people to understand that this is our environment and it must be clean. A plastic bottle, it remains for more than 100 years before it degrades. Imagine that! This is very important.”

— Hani Al Maimani

— The Arabian Sun: May 31, 2023