Saudi Gazette, Makkah
The General Presidency for the Two Holy Mosques Affairs announced new regulations regarding Ramadan iftars (breaking of the fast meals) held in the Grand Mosque, Makkah daily reported.
Director of cleaning at the presidency Maher al-Zahrani said the new regulations were set to maintain the cleanliness of the mosque.
He said: “The nylon spreads used must be all of the same color and must be as thick as 50 microns.
“The dates served must all be fresh and free of their core to avoid having seeds clogging the sewers.
“The general presidency expects the charities organizing the iftars to be fully responsible by appointing supervisors and volunteers for setting up the iftars and cleaning up.”
The directorate will only allow appointed members of the organizing charities and associations to go in and set up the iftars. “They will be allowed in half an hour after Asr prayer from the side entrances and not the main ones. This will give them plenty of time to set up iftars.
“Everything is expected to be cleared and cleaned up five minutes after the Maghrib adhan (call for prayer) is over.”
He said there are designated trolleys near each entrance where the volunteers can dispose of rubbish.
“Our workers will then push the trolleys away from the central area of the Grand Mosque.”
He also said many perform wudu (ablutions) with Zamzam water even though it is a waste of the holy water and causes hazards.
He added the visitors of the mosque should also clean up after themselves and contribute to keeping the mosque clean.
“Visitors should throw their trash and leftovers in the trash bags, not bring in their own food and drinks, consume a modest amount of dates, coffee and Zamzam water and put their shoes in the designated places outside the Grand Mosque.”
“In the past, the directorate used to discard 167 tons of rubbish a day and during the last three days of Ramadan the weight could reach up to 300 tons a day.
“The nylon spreads used to reach 65 km in length and there would be around 70 tons of dates distributed inside the mosque a day.”