Dammam fire raises pollution fears

Updated 15 September 2013
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Dammam fire raises pollution fears

Heavy smoke and the acrid smell of chemicals still lingers over Dammam's industrial city from a huge fire that broke out Sunday at an ARASCO factory containing 23,000 tons of animal fodder.
ARASCO is a Saudi company that produces and markets food and agricultural products and services. The factory where the fire started manufactures fodder combined with chemical substances that are highly flammable.
Ammar Al-Magrbi, spokesman for the Civil Defense in the Eastern Province, told Arab News that the fire has been brought under control, but that it would take a few more days to remove smoldering fodder. "We are working to clear the substance out of the area to reduce smoke."
“The overall effects are restricted to the location of the accident, so all the working teams are wearing masks to avoid poisoning and suffocation. It is a blessing that the warehouses are a distance away from populated areas,” he said.
Spokesman of the Presidency of Meteorology and Environment (PME), Hussein Al-Qahtani, said the organization is monitoring the movement and direction of wind in the area. The PME is also studying the composition of the air and the potential harm caused to the environment and humans.
“The fire caused chemical interactions due to the mixture of the chemical materials with the vapors. This resulted in the emission of carbon dioxide into the air.” These emissions can cause breathing difficulties, asphyxiation, respiratory allergies and eye irritations, he said.
Al-Qahtani said Civil Defense teams are taking measures to control the situation and are hoping that the movement and speed of the wind may help confine emissions to one area until all traces of the fire are removed.
“The presidency will follow up by measuring air quality and levels of pollution,” said Al-Qahtani.


Saudi artist wins place at coveted Silk Road show

Updated 6 min 32 sec ago
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Saudi artist wins place at coveted Silk Road show

  • The annual festival highlights China's “One Belt, One Road” initiative
  • Artworks are selected by a committee that evaluates the works
RIYADH: Artworks by Saudi sculptor and painter Kamal Al-Mualem will be displayed at the Silk Road International Arts Festival and Exhibition at the Shaanxi Provincial Museum of Fine Arts in Xi’an, China, in September.
Hosted annually by China’s Ministry of Culture, the festival highlights President Xi Jinping’s strategic concept of “One Belt, One Road” in the field of humanities, and encourages cultural exchange between China and other countries.
Speaking to Arab News, Al-Mualem said: “It is a matter of great pride that a Saudi artist will show works to an art-loving Chinese audience and foreign visitors.”
“It is a matter of great pride that a Saudi artist will show works to an art-loving Chinese audience and foreign visitors,” he said.
Artworks are selected by a committee that evaluates the works and puts the results on an official website. The committee then sends a letter of confirmation to selected artists that their works have been accepted for participation.
Al-Mualem said that the international exhibition is a platform for contemporary cultural exchange and highlights the role of Chinese culture in the art of Silk Road.
The artist represented the Kingdom at the same exhibition last year.
“I seek blessings from the Almighty Allah to help me in representing the dear homeland in the best way possible that reflects well for Saudi arts and culture,” said Al-Mualem, an Eastern Province artist who studied fine art at the Florence Fine Arts Academy in
Italy.
Al-Mualem’s work has been shown in international exhibitions, including the Changcheng and Chuanqing International Sculpture Exhibition in China.
Last year 300 artists from 106 countries participated in the Silk Road International Art Exhibition, gaining recognition and support from around the world.