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Official describes daunting task of keeping Grand Mosque clean

JEDDAH: The Director of the Cleaning Department at the Grand Mosque, Hamoud bin Saleh, has appealed to pilgrims and visitors to cooperate in the directorate’s efforts to maintain the cleanliness of the holy mosque’s floors and courtyards.

Saleh said a daily average of 100 tons of garbage, which could rise to 120 tons during peak days, is removed from the Grand Mosque and its courtyards.

The large quantity of garbage is attributed to the huge number of pilgrims and visitors coming to the mosque. The number of visitors is estimated at between 1.5 and 2 million a day during Ramadan.

“Pilgrims should not throw any waste on the floors of the Grand Mosque or courtyards. They can easily find dust bins close to them because 2,500 of them have been placed in the mosque and its courtyards,” Saleh said in a statement on Tuesday.

The officials also appealed the pilgrims not to use the Zamzam taps to perform ablution as that could make the floors wet and slippery.

Saleh said his department is very keen to maintain the cleanliness of the Grand Mosque and its surroundings round the clock and that is why it contracted a cleaning company, which employs 3,000 workers operates 300 pieces of equipment.

Iftar meals are supplied in the mosque under the strict supervision of the cleaning department, which has instructed all meal-supplying organizations to provide only dates and coffee so that the mosque can be cleaned within minutes after breaking the fast before the prayer starts.

He added that 11 charities supply daily 9,300 kilograms of dates for iftar. He put the cumulative length of the lines of pilgrims that participate in the iftar meals at 11 kilometers.

More than 3,500 toilets on the mosque premises are cleaned and disinfected several times a day.