Mecca home of the largest place for Muslims to gather cant escape the criticism of environmentalists.
The annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca is over for another year, but the environmental impact is still being felt
Plastic water bottles and cups, Styrofoam take-out containers with half-eaten food, plastic carrier bags; a trail of waste mingling with carbon dioxide fumes erupts from miles of cranky buses, carrying tired yet exultant pilgrims alongside dusty desert roads. These are the environmental remnants of the world’s largest annual pilgrimage. It’s a sorrowful sight – the antithesis to the once-in-a-lifetime spiritual experience that is Hajj.
Going green may seem the obvious choice as we continue to learn more about the effects of climate change, but for Muslims, the protection and maintenance of nature isn’t just a social responsibility – it’s also a religious one. According to the Qur’an, every human being is a steward of the earth, responsible for the care and wellbeing of nature in all its forms, due to, in the words of environmentalist Othman Llewellyn, “humanity’s enormous ability to do both good and evil; with ability comes responsibility.”