Urban Fold

Greening Pilgrimages in Holy Cities

Pilgrimages to holy sites around the world have caused large amounts of waste and pollution because of the large amount of people gathering together for one event and consumeristic habits, writes George Webster for CNN

Last year during the Hajj in Mecca, researchers at the UK-based Faith Regen Foundation found that 100 million plastic water bottles were dumped by pilgrims.

"According to Ahmed, the problem is both practical and cultural. While she is eager for local authorities in Mecca to introduce energy-saving measures, like solar-powered mosques and low-carbon transport initiatives, she says that pilgrims must also become more conscious of their surroundings."

The Green Pilgrimage Network, which started last week, hopes to partner with at least 300 cities in the next two years to make the events more conscious of the environment.

"Launched last week in the sacred Catholic city of Assisi in Italy, the network comprises 12 founding member cities, including Amritsar in India, where they have pledged to provide clean drinking water for Sikh pilgrims traveling to the Golden Temple there; and in St. Albans in the UK, the Church of England says it will install solar panels on the local cathedral."

Full Story: Holy cities face threat from polluting pilgrims

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