Saudi Arabia cultivates over 230,000 trees during environment week

The environment week organized in 13 provinces attracted more than 527,443 visitors to various events. (SPA)
Updated 06 April 2019

Saudi Arabia cultivates over 230,000 trees during environment week

  • Activities included included 173 cleanup campaigns at wild sites and along beaches across the Kingdom
  • More than 856 government and private bodies participated in the initiative

RIYADH: The Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture cultivated 230,715 wild trees in parks and rangelands across the country during the first Saudi Environment Week.

More than 856 government and private bodies participated in the initiative, launched by the ministry under the title “Protecting our environment for our society’s well-being.”

The ministry also sent 71 million SMS messages to raise awareness about the environment, and generated interactions from 12 million followers on its online platforms through the hashtag #bi’atok_baytok (Your environment, your home).

The ministry said that the week, organized in 13 provinces, had attracted more than 527,443 visitors to various initiatives, which had included 173 cleanup campaigns at wild sites and along beaches, and 39 seeding campaigns, in addition to the release of a number of wild animals into protected wildlife parks across the Kingdom in order to preserve the ecological balance and help with species conservation.

It noted the large participation of school students from 1,663 schools in different provinces, as well as over 190 associations, unions and development committees. The number of awareness camps held, meanwhile, was 63, during which over 198 lectures and awareness seminars were conducted.

The ministry praised the valuable participation of over 4,000 mosque preachers, who raised awareness about the environment, and urged people to preserve it as a religious and moral duty.

Different activities were planned across the Kingdom. In Tabuk, residents visited an environmental camp at Prince Fahd bin Sultan Park, an exhibition at Al-Makan Mall featuring a visual display on environmental awareness, and events put on by the Green Tabuk Association, Tabuk Technical College and the Saudi Meteorology Commission.

Practical activities were also organized, including seed planting at Tabuk University campus and wildflower cultivation along many of the region’s highways. The week also featured lectures from environmentalists, most prominently at the ministry’s Tabuk branch and at Tabuk University.

Children participate in a cleanup drive during the environment week organized in 13 provinces of Saudi Arabia. (SPA)

In Haql, the town celebrated the week by launching a volunteer project, featuring 500 students, which planted thousands of trees and seedlings and helped to clean up several local beaches. Al-Bad’ welcomed the week with a series of events, including rejuvenating local parks and planting trees on the outskirts of the town, strategically placed to reduce desertification.

In Amlaj, activities focused on how to use and recycle wastewater to irrigate gardens, along with protecting and cleaning the region’s beaches, which are a protected habitat for nesting sea turtles. Desert trees were also replanted.

The governors of Duba and Al-Wajh also used the week to launch tree-planting schemes and beach-cleaning exercises, while in Tayma the local governor, Saad bin Naif Al-Sudairi, announced that the regional government would begin to use more environment-friendly vehicles.

Saudi Arabia is taking different measures to make the Kingdom an environment-friendly country, which is one of the many goals of Saudi Vision 2030. Additionally, renewable energy holds a promising place in Saudi Arabia’s future. Earlier this year, the Renewable Energy Project Development Office (REPDO) of the Ministry of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources expressed interest in seven solar photovoltaic (PV) projects.

These projects represent the next phase in Saudi Arabia’s ambitious renewable energy plans, which seek to achieve more than 25 gigawatts (GW) of wind and solar power generation in the next five years, and close to 60 GW over the next decade, of which 40 GW will be generated from solar energy and 16 GW from onshore wind.

According to REPDO, the seven projects, located in Qurayyat, Madinah, Rafha, Al-Faisaliah, Rabigh, Jeddah and Mahd Al-Dahab, will supply enough energy to power 226,500 households and create more than 4,500 jobs during construction, operation and maintenance.

The Kingdom aims to create over the next decade a global hub of renewable energy capability, spanning local manufacturing to project development, domestically and abroad.

Two Saudis among 31 foreigners killed in Easter Day attacks in Sri Lanka

Updated 23 April 2019

Two Saudis among 31 foreigners killed in Easter Day attacks in Sri Lanka

  • Mohamed Jafar and Hany Osman, cabin crew with Saudi Arabian Airlines, were in transit and staying at one of the three hotels targeted
  • Saudi Ambassador Abdulnasser Al-Harthi says officials are awaiting the results of DNA tests

COLOMBO: Two Saudis were among 31 foreigners killed in a string of Easter Sunday suicide bombings in Sri Lanka, the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry said on Monday, a day after the devastating attacks on hotels and churches killed at least 290 people and wounded nearly 500.

The extent of the carnage began to emerge as information from government officials, relatives and media reports offered the first details of those who had died. Citizens from at least eight countries, including the United States, were killed, officials said.

Among them were Saudis Mohammed Jafar and Hany Osman. They worked as cabin crew on Saudi Arabian Airlines, and were in transit and staying at one of the three hotels that were hit.

Saudi Ambassador Abdulnasser Al-Harthi said that officials are awaiting the results of DNA tests on the two Saudi victims, and only after these are received will their names be confirmed.

Cabinet spokesman Rajitha Senaratne said the Sri Lankan government believes the vast scale of the attacks, which clearly targeted the minority Christian community and outsiders, suggested the involvement of an international terrorism network.

“We don’t think a small organization can do all that,” he said. “We are now investigating international support for them and their other links — how they produced the suicide bombers and bombs like this.”

The attacks mostly took place during church services or when hotel guests were sitting down to breakfast. In addition to the two Saudis, officials said the foreign victims included one person from Bangladesh, two from China, eight from India, one from France, one from Japan, one from The Netherlands, one from Portugal, one from Spain, two from Turkey, six from the UK, two people with US and UK dual nationalities, and two with Australian and Sri Lankan dual nationalities.

Three of Danish billionaire Anders Holch Povlsen’s four children were among the foreigners who were killed, a spokesman for the family confirmed. Povlsen is the wealthiest man in Denmark, the largest landowner in Scotland and owns the largest share of British online fashion and cosmetics retailer Asos.

Two Turkish engineers working on a project in Sri Lanka also died in the attacks, the English-language Daily Sabah newspaper reported. Turkey’s foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu gave their names as Serhan Selcuk Narici and Yigit Ali Cavus.

Fourteen foreign nationals remain unaccounted for, the Sri Lankan foreign ministry said, adding that they might be among unidentified victims at the Colombo Judicial Medical Officer’s morgue.

Seventeen foreigners injured in the attacks were still being treated at the Colombo National Hospital and a private hospital in the city, while others had been discharged after treatment.