ISLAMABAD: Saudi Arabia announced the development of a project to reduce temperatures in order to provide some respite to pilgrims at the Makkah’s holy sites.
The project aims to provide temperature reduction from 15C to 20C, where temperatures will be recorded every 10 seconds during the season through sensors placed under the asphalt.
It has begun coating asphalt as a way to reduce heat at the holy sites. The project included in the first stage the coating of the pedestrian road at Mina Gate leading to the Jamarat facility.
The coating was done over a total area of approximately 3,500 m2 to help reduce the road temperature and to serve the pilgrims.
Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Minister of Hajj, Dr. Abdul Fattah Mashat in an interview with Saudi Newspaper “ Asharq Al-Awsat” said that the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, in cooperation with the Secretariat of the Holy City, launched an initiative to alleviate the heat of the holy sites by implementing a project to coat the asphalt, as a way to reduce the temperature by 15 to 20 degrees Celsius.
He said that 3,500 square meters were covered so far and that other sites would be treated over the next year.
He added that the project also included measuring the temperature every 10 seconds through sensors placed under the asphalt.
The number of pilgrims during the coming year will reach 15 million, according to the deputy minister, who pointed to the introduction of many programs and committees to ensure the best quality of services provided to pilgrims. The director general of the holy sites and seasons, Ahmed Manshi, said “The project aims to reduce the temperature of the pavement surface in Shaiben area, and there is a possibility to include the Jamarat facilities, and coat several pedestrian pathways at holy sites.” He explained that to measure the success of this project, surveys will be distributed to pilgrims during this year’s Hajj season.
“We have also coordinated with the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Institute for Hajj and Umrah Research to conduct a study on this experiment, recommend the possibility of expanding to other locations, and learn the most convenient sites for the secretariat to provide the service,” he said.
The project came after the completion of a network of pedestrian pathways extending from the Mount of Mercy (Jabal Al-Rahma) in Arafat to Mina, passing through Muzdalifah.
It aims to ensure the comfort, safety and security of pilgrims while they move between holy sites. The pathway has been paved using interlocking tiles, and benches are placed on both sides for pilgrims to rest.
Sunshades have also been installed to protect pilgrims from the sun, and concrete barriers have been placed to prevent vehicles from entering the pedestrian pathway. The pathway is lit using high-tech poles and LED beams, which are bright, cost-efficient when compared to ordinary lighting, and have low emissions.