Group of international students stepping up to clean up Halifax highway

Desiree Finhert - Metro Halifax
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Students Ali Alsamri (left), Mohanad Alotaibi and Abdullah Alotaibi pick up trash on Highway 102.                

METRO HALIFAX

It’s not their trash. It’s not their city. But it's their pleasure.

A group of international students from Saudi Arabia have made it their responsibility to clean a section of Highway 102, one trash bag at a time.

Mount Saint Vincent University student Ayed Alotaibi said he gets about 10 of his friends together once a month to walk the fast-moving roadway and pick up trash.

“All of the garbage: Pepsi, Coke, McDonalds, Tim Hortons,” said Alotaibi. “Most of it is fast food, some is part of the cars’ tires and some are beer.”

Along the road is glass, plastic shopping bags, beer cans, cigarette packages, pop cans, fiberglass insulation, cardboard, wood, Styrofoam, car parts, and even full bags of discarded garbage.

On Sunday, the nine-person crew brought their own gloves and garbage bags to the section between Larry Uteck Boulevard Exit 2 and Bedford Exit 3 and when they were finished they hauled away about 20 bags in their own cars.

“We are enjoying it,” said Alotaibi, who is doing a double major in marketing and management. “We’re doing something for the community and something for ourselves.

“I know some people would not do it because some would think, ‘Oh, it’s not our job. We pay taxes.’ But if we don’t stand up and do it, nobody would do it. Garbage plus garbage will increase until one day we have a bad environment.”

The crew doesn’t get university credits, payment or recognition for their work. But they are looking for more awareness.

“We all need to care about the planet,” said Majed Alotaibi, a commerce student at Saint Mary’s University. “No matter where we are from, it’s our planet.”

The 100-series highways are the responsibility of Nova Scotia Transportation Infrastructure and Renewal.

Clean Nova Scotia offers support for volunteers wanting to clean up secondary highways, providing gloves, bags, safety vests and other gear.

Organizations: Mount Saint Vincent University, Tim Hortons

Geographic location: Saudi Arabia, Saint Mary

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