Saturday July 3rd, “Don’t mess with Nature Initiative” of the Jordan Inbound Tour Operators Association (JITOA), launched the first campaign for “Jerash Adoption Program 2010-2011” under the patronage of H.E Minister of Tourism & Antiquities, Mrs. Maha Al Khatib, and H.E. Minister of Environment, Mr. Hazem Malhas, with active participation of the public and private sectors.

“Jerash Cleanup Campaign” the kick off activity of Jerash adoption program aims at increasing environmental awareness in the area and cleaning up for the site to get rid of the litter, and sorting of solid waste to collect it for recycling.

The campaign volunteers, participants and supporters gathered Saturday morning at the Jerash Amphitheater with the attendance of Jerash Governor, Mrs. Rabiha Al Dabbas, representative from the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, Director of Tourism Professions, Mr. Hisham Al Abbadi , His Excellency the Minister of Environment, Mr. Hazem Malhas, and Mr. Muhannad Malhas, JITOA Secretary General and Spokesman, along with the representatives of official sponsors and the campaign organizers.

Mr. Muhnad Malhas welcomed the guests and thanked the Jerash Governorate and the Ministries for their support, and he pointed out that this initiative aims to transform Jordan tourist attractions and archeological treasures to an eco-friendly and green destination, to make Jordan as a distinctive model in preserving nature, and heritage by keeping it clean and beautiful. He said “the roman ancient city of Jerash is famous of its greenery landscapes, fertility and natural artistic beauty, and today we are gathering here to work together on maintaining this image engraved in the hearts of its visitors from all over the world”

H.E. Minister of Environment Mr. Malhas said in his speech that the ministry is supporting all the activities undertaken under this initiative and emphasized on the underlined the importance of preserving the cultural heritage of the site and educating youth on the importance of protecting archeological sites. He announced the ministry’s support of 12,000 Jordanian Dinar as a contribution for the sustainability of the initiative.

This campaign was held in coordination with the Municipality of Jerash which provided trash compressors and workers to take off non-recyclable materials and transport them to the waste landfills. Jerash Department of Antiquities and the Visitor center also took part in facilitating in-site organization of the event, in addition to the support provided by Entity Green recycling company, which will help in recycling the separated and collected waste and will also provide environmental trainings for local communities and organizing recycling workshops for the re-use of recycled materials and making handcrafts in other upcoming activities under this program.

The Managing Director of SANYO Gulf the Gold Sponsor , Mr. Motokatsu Sakaguchi said “SANYO eagerly accepted the opportunity to sponsor the excellent work here in Jordan that JITOA is undertaking with its ‘Don’t Mess with Nature’ environmental campaign. We believe that this campaign will have a tremendously positive effect on Jerash, its people, and the millions of people from around the world who visit Jerash each year to appreciate its natural beauty and cultural and historical significance.”

Mr. Malhas remarked “JITOA is proud to initiate this unique idea in the tourism sector and contribute in improving Jerash site infrastructure with respect to adopting environmental practices and reduce visual pollution to enhance the site overall view”

Mr. Nizar Al Adarbeh, JITOA Executive Director commented that it is important to promote for protecting and maintaining tourist attractions to be able to improve the provided services quality and site infrastructure, “we seek to involve the private sector and the local communities in the development process of enhancing tourism services and supporting the Ministry of Tourism to maintain the high-end service level in order to enrich the tourist experience and protect Jordan treasures, its culture and history” he said.

Ms. Dina Shoman, Executive Vice President of Branding at Arab Bank the second Gold Sponsor also said, “Jerash is considered one of Jordan’s greatest national treasures and it is our responsibility to keep it clean; not only so the rest of the world can enjoy it, but future generations of Jordanians as well. Supporting the important ‘Don’t Mess with Nature Initiative’ falls in line with the Bank’s commitment to support Jordan, its heritage and its economy, all of which are columns embodied by the ancient city of Jerash.”

More than 300 volunteers participated in the cleanup campaign from the capital Amman and the Governorate of Jerash. Jerash lovers and fans of youth and families and the tourism sector staff worked in groups to clean up the area by collecting trash, sorting waste materials to plastic, paper and glass and separation of recyclable materials to facilitate the use and recycling process.

Participants were divided into volunteer groups to start the cleanup from the main entrance of the site reaching the Amphitheater, which were distributed in three major areas, the first is the handcrafts shop area, the second is from the Hippodrome to the visitor center, the third is the roman arena including the Museum, Zeus Temple, and up to the South Runway.

Volunteers from Amman were from JITOA members, and sponsors and supporters staff in addition to the remarkable participation of local NGOs of Jerash, which had a significant role in the success of the campaign and they are, “Kolna Al Urdon” Association, Jordan Planet and Human Association, and the youth ladies of souf association.

This program is supported by Jerash Governorate, Jerash Municipality, Jerash Tourism Directorate, and Jerash Antiquities Department, Jerash Visitor Center, Ministry of tourism and Antiquities, Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, and Entity Green for recycling. The main sponsors includes; Gold Sponsors Sanyo Gulf, Arab Bank, and Silver Sponsors, Petra Moon Tourism Services, United Travel Agency(UTA), Bronze Sponsor Amani Tours in addition to other contributors including Sama Food Industries, Sukhtian Group (Higeen), Jerash Tourism Restaurant, Batatee5, The Green-Echo initiative of MASAR organization, and Star Plastic Factory. The official transportation sponsor is JETT Jordan Express Tourist Transportation co. and the Media Partners are; Al Ghad Newspaper, Amen FM, Jordan Property Magazine, and W2GO.