Riyadh ranked among most polluted cities globally

Updated 17 March 2014
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Riyadh ranked among most polluted cities globally

Riyadh has been ranked one of the most polluted cities in the world, according a report released by a United Nations organization.
The World Health Organization (WHO) report named Ahvaz, the capital of the Khuzestan Province in Iran, to be suffering the worst levels of air pollution, followed by Ulan Bator in Mongolia.
The list also included Lahore, New Delhi, Riyadh, Cairo, Dhaka, Moscow, Mexico City and Beijing, the report said.
The WHO report attributed the inclusion of Riyadh in the list to the occurrence of sandstorms, as well as pollutants emerging from heavy traffic and industrial waste.
Last week, Riyadh Gov. Prince Khalid bin Bandar ordered the formation of a committee to look into sources of pollution in southern Riyadh, where citizens have often complained of pollution in the area’s districts.
Committee members representing a series of government agencies, such as the Higher Commission of Development of Riyadh (HCDR), the Riyadh Governorate, the Ministry of Health, the Saudi Industrial Property Authority (Modon) and the National Water Co., are entrusted to put forth urgent solutions for reducing sources of pollution in the area.
An earlier report published by the WHO put North American and Australian cities among the world’s cleanest in terms of air quality. By contrast, seven Asian cities were among the worst globally.


Fast track to Hajj on Jakarta’s ‘Makkah Road’

Updated 18 July 2018
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Fast track to Hajj on Jakarta’s ‘Makkah Road’

  • A fast-track clearance for Indonesian Hajj pilgrims has been opened at Jakarta’s Soekarno Hatta airport
  • The initiative comes as the first groups of pilgrims left from six Indonesian cities, including the capital

JAKARTA: A fast-track clearance for Indonesian Hajj pilgrims — known as the “Makkah Road” — has been opened at Jakarta’s Soekarno Hatta airport.
The initiative comes as the first groups of pilgrims left from six Indonesian cities, including the capital.
Indonesian and Saudi officials, including Osama bin Mohammed Al-Shuaibi, the Kingdom’s ambassador to Indonesia, were present at the official launch of the fast-track facility on Tuesday.
Airport operator Angkasa Pura has installed 20 booths to process Hajj pilgrims, with each counter manned by two Saudi immigration officers.
“This is the first time the immigration process has taken place in Jakarta, so they will not have to go through custom clearance on arrival in Saudi Arabia and can go directly to their buses, which will take them to their accommodation, while their luggage will be handled and delivered directly to their respective hotels,” Al-Shuaibi said.
“This is a step to improve our Hajj services. We have introduced it this year at Jakarta, where about 60,000 pilgrims are expected to depart. We will introduce it in four cities next time and eventually we hope to introduce it all Hajj embarkations in Indonesia,” he said.
The envoy said that about 400 pilgrims underwent the fast-track clearance in an hour at the airport on Tuesday.
“We appreciate King Salman’s initiative that makes the pilgrims’ journey much easier. It shows that we have a deep and close relation,” Indonesia’s Minister of Social Affairs, Idrus Marham, said.
Director-General of Hajj and Umrah at the Ministry of Religious Affairs, Nizar Ali, said that 4,486 pilgrims had left from Surakarta, Surabaya, Jakarta, Padang, Makassar and Lombok. More than 221,000 pilgrims are expected to leave Indonesia this year, with the last departure on Aug. 14.
Garuda, the Indonesian airline, expects to fly as many as 108,000 pilgrims in 280 groups from around the country.
Among the 393 pilgrims who left Jakarta was 91-year-old Mohammad Hasan Saad, from East Jakarta, the oldest person in the group.
Hanif Fakri, a member of the medical staff assisting the group, said that Saad was making his second pilgrimage after his first Hajj in 2012.
Hanafi bin Dogol, a 50-year-old pilgrim from East Jakarta, told Arab News that he been on a seven-year waiting list waiting for his chance to go on Hajj.
“I have been practicing and learning the rituals. I hope I can accomplish the pilgrimage in the most favorable manner,” he said.