Mr. Wadee Saif Ahmad, Director for the Cleanliness and Improvement Fund in Hodeidah to Yemen Times: “Cleanliness campaigns in full swing” [Archives:2003/04/Business & Economy]

January 27 2003

Historic references have indicated that the name of Hodeidah originated from an old woman’s name “Hadeedah”. The aged woman used to live in Bab Mushref, the second largest gate of the city, and it is she who gave this important Yemeni coastal city its name.
But Hodeidah City today does not resemble old age or senility. The city has become a young and energetic looking city resembling an active and strategic harbor on the Red Sea. But at the same time, the city was also able to preserve its historical significance.
However, Hodeidah City faced a challenge after unification due to the emergence of another strong competitor: Aden, which was declared as a commercial and industrial capital of Yemen.
Three years ago, I visited Hodeidah and found that there wasn’t much commercial or social activity. All I found was bumpy roads filled with rubbish and waste materials scattered almost every you go in the city. Well, I realized that the ‘old woman’ name did not come from nowhere then.
Last week, however, I revisited Hodeidah City. But this time it was a much brighter image. I saw the old woman turning into a young beautiful bride again. I have found the city healthier and younger. The city seemed full of energy and enthusiasm.
I could finally breathe fresh air in Hodeidah after motorbike smog would fill the city’s atmosphere. I could see a city beautifully decorated with trees and green parks.
I have been deeply impressed by such beauty and therefore I believe that it deserves the title “2002 most beautiful Yemeni city”. I also believe that the efforts that its governor has exerted to turn it to what it is today entitle him to the “2002 most distinguished governor” title. It is not a complement; it is truly an amazing difference.
Hodeidah’s streets today are clean and organized. Sightseers and visitors who have been to Hodeidah in the past will notice that the city has now an incomparable beauty.
Tourist attractions are everywhere you go. You find trees, green grasses, fountains, and many other features that you would consider necessary for a tourist city.
This can be attributed to the strenuous efforts exerted by its governor, Mr. Mohammed Saleh Shamlan and the Executive Manager in the governorate, Mr. Wadee Saif Ahmad who is an MA graduate in Agriculture from the Alexandria University. He is now appointed as the Director for the Cleanliness and Improvement Fund.
The fund is also run by the information center in Hodeidah governorate which aims basically at coordinating joint activities of all Hodeidah governorate districts.
It is responsible for collecting information of the different activities happening all over the governorate and establishing a very strong infrastructure for development in all districts of the Hodeidah governorate.
Mr. Imad Al-Saqqaf, Yemen Times Taiz/Hodeidah Bureau Chief met with Mr. Wadee Saif , the Executive Manager of the fund, and filed the following interview.
Q: When was the cleanliness fund established? What are the projects that have been achieved so far?
A: The fund was established in 1999 by republican decree no. (20) to form the Cleanliness and Improvement Funds to enhance cities.
The fund’s active projects can be summarized in the following:
1- Erecting the Victory Arch, (Qaws Annasr).
2- Paving mini parks of some streets with flagstones.
3- Lighting the al-Olofi Public Park.
4- Expanding and beautifying the prayers spot of the Greater and Lesser Bairam.
5- Implementing the first phase of beautifying some of the city’s streets.
6- Renewing and lighting some of city streets.
7-Establishing a temporary shed for the fish market.
The total cost for these projects have been totaled YR. 167,272,600.
Q: To what extent has the cleanliness law been enforced and how have the concerned bodies reacted to make the fund a success?
A: The cleanliness law hasn’t been fully enforced until the beginning of the last quarter of the year 2002.
After its transference to a new neighborhood, the fund’s staff along with the concerned bodies have discussed and reviewed some vital matters related to the law.
As a matter of fact, the fund’s activities have begun to be felt and some vital projects have been established in this regard.
In addition to this, projects are being implemented in full swing. This can be detected through the established work related to beautifying the city through paving streets, construct flagstones, and lighting parks and streets.
Besides, fountains have been repaired and the street cleaners have started working in acceptable costumes.
Q: In your point of view, how can the media play a positive role in raising awareness of cleanliness towards their cities?
A: Undoubtedly, the media has a vital role to play in terms of raising awareness of the importance of cleanliness among the public. It is of great significance to keep their cities clean and organized.
Cleanliness campaigns were nonexistence in the past. People felt embarrassed to talk about cleaning. They could see with their own eyes heaps of rubbish and waste scattered everywhere in street pavements without doing anything about it thinking that it is the sole responsibility of the state. But today, we have shown them that talking about cleanliness is nothing to be ashamed of and that it is a joint responsibility of citizens and government. We should feel proud of what has been achieved so far.
Q: How do you assess the mechanisms of the cleanliness project?
A: I will not assess in this matter. Leaderships in the governorate along with the public will assess our achievements.
Frankly speaking, we have spent four months working with out-of-date cleaning machines and equipment. Supported by the governor of the city, cleaning machines and equipment have been provided.
It is saddening to see that some people act irresponsibly towards the cleanliness workers, who have started their work. Those people are somewhat still unaware of the great importance of keeping their cities clean.
Q: How do you assess the cleanliness campaign in the historical city of Zabeed?
A: We are at the cleanliness fund fully aware of the importance of preserving the beautiful facet of the ancient Zabeed City which will soon be restored.
We are entirely dependent on the positive reactions and efforts made by the governor of the city. The duty of this has been assigned to Mr. Mohammed Abdulwasa’e who will lead the cleanliness campaign in the city of Zabeed. The Zabeed cleanliness campaign will focus on removing the solid waste materials and beautifying the city using all available means.
Q: What are your future plans?
A: We are greatly ambitious to achieve the future plans in the context of:
Firstly, concerning the cleanliness campaign, which would include:
a. Allocating a new distant site for waste material. This site will be at least 13 km away from the city.
b. Recycling waste material. Preparations are underway to erect a mini plant for recycling and buying recycling machines, and equipment for this matter.
c. Purchasing new equipment for the waste material spot.
d. Rehabilitating and repairing the project’s workshop.
e. Improving the previous mechanisms of the cleanliness project.
f. Activating the awareness sections and environment guidance.
g. Training the cleanliness cadres.
Secondly, concerning the technical department which is related to establishing projects, planting trees, and lightening, these are the cleanliness projects which are to be implemented this year:
a. Paving roads in the context of building and expanding streets, building car parks, and repairing old streets.
b. Adding flagstones to street pavements, establishing a nursery project and irrigation networks and lighting streets.
c. Launching new public parks, and other important projects.
The overall cost of those proposed projects is around YR. 80,865,500.