The Green Pilgrim: Plastic Free Arbaeen

What Does The Green Pilgrim Advocate?

Iraq has witnessed a significant increase in participation in the Arbaeen March, one of the world’s largest peaceful gatherings, since 2014. Millions of pilgrims gather each year in the cities of Karbala and Najaf to participate in the march. As a result, tonnes of plastic waste are left behind.

In the absence of a reliable solid waste system and political unrest in the war-torn country, The Green Pilgrim movement advocates for the ‘#plastic_free_Arbaeen’, while creating a demand for plastic alternates through online activism.

We also encourage pilgrims to participate in offline activism by carrying reusable bottles and to collectively find solutions to make the holy cities of Najaf and Karbala free from plastic this Arbaeen.

Hashtags: #Plastic_free_Arbaeen





What is Our Strategy?

The Green Pilgrim movement works with diverse communities and cultures and generates collective identity through raising awareness about excess plastic use during the Arbaeen pilgrimage to Iraq. The website offers downloadable infographics in multiple languages to be used by volunteers. The social media pages are frequently used by The Green Pilgrim community to create content, share their views, and be creative when it comes to showing their impact or documenting the movement.

We also use hashtag activism and use #Plastic_Free_Arbaeen, and #Plastic_Free_Karbala to promote sustainable Arbaeen. Our advocacy platform connects pilgrims to collectively learn about the existing plastic pandemic and its adverse effect on Iraq’s ecology and work towards building a more resilient and responsible community of pilgrims.

Who Do We Work With?

The campaign teams up with participants and local authorities to highlight the plastic waste problem and the positive steps that we take together to solve it. The advocacy platform that started in 2018 has triggered offline activism and aims at using at further strengthen the collective identity and grow its online public sphere as a space for dialogue and exchange of ideas that welcomes user-generated content.

As the movement steps into offline activism, a dialogue with local authorities has also started that is becoming possible as the political situation in Iraq has stabilized and travel restrictions have been lifted.