Saudi Arabia celebrates Environment Day to beat air pollution

Jubail is home to a company that won the environmental initiative award after recycling 60,000 tons of waste in 2015. (SPA)
Updated 17 June 2019

Saudi Arabia celebrates Environment Day to beat air pollution

  • The commission had an initiative registered with the National Transformation Program 2020 to recycle 57 percent of the industrial waste

JUBAIL: The Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu celebrated World Environment Day for the fifteenth time, with an event called “Beat Air Pollution,” organized at Al-Fanateer Cultural Center in Jubail’s industrial city. 
The event included an environmental exhibition during which the commission recognized and rewarded companies with the best environmental performances in 2018.
“This event focuses on the environmental challenges facing industrial activities globally, which are considered a great source of pollution, as well as other factors that have a greater impact such as agriculture, transport, sand storms, volcanic eruptions and forest fires,” said the director of the Royal Commission’s Environmental Control Department, Owayed Al-Rashidi.
“The celebration aims at highlighting these experiences and spreading information regarding the role of industry in mitigating pollution,” he added, noting “corporations in Jubail’s industrial city have received numerous international prizes in the fields of sustainability and environmentalism.
“Jubail is home to a company that won the environmental initiative award after recycling 60,000 tons of waste in 2015. The commission values such companies and it will try to honor them and support sustainability in the city.


•The theme for 2019, ‘Beat Air Pollution,’ is a call to combat this global crisis.

• The celebration of this day provides an opportunity to broaden the basis for an enlightened opinion and responsible conduct.

• Since it began in 1974, it has grown to become a global platform for public outreach that is widely celebrated in more than 100 countries.

“Companies with the best environmental performance are all on the right path. They are resorting to the best modern technologies and respecting the Kingdom’s environmental sustainability standards, which made it hard for us to reward some and not others.
“The commission has set environmental sustainability standards in order to improve technologies needed to recycle industrial waste, now considered a vital resource and a pillar of the national economy,” Al-Rashidi continued.
“Industrial waste is now being used in ‘downstream’ industries. We currently have 10 companies that recycle industrial waste in Jubail, where we reached a recycling capacity of 56 percent in 2018, and we are seeking to raise it to 58 percent.
“The commission had an initiative registered with the National Transformation Program 2020 to recycle 57 percent of the industrial waste. In fact, we will achieve almost 60 percent, and will go even higher after 2020.”

Saudis recall history’s greatest TV event: Apollo moon landing

Updated 20 July 2019

Saudis recall history’s greatest TV event: Apollo moon landing

  • The TV images beamed from 320,000km away in space left viewers astounded but happy
  • The TV coverage influenced thinking and attitudes in the Kingdom just like everywhere else

DUBAI: It was a sleepy afternoon in Saudi Arabia, just days before the end of the school vacation, and Saudis had their eyes glued to their TV sets as they waited for live coverage of the Apollo 11 moon landing.

Before July 20, 1969, the idea of a human walking on the moon was the stuff of science fiction. However, almost overnight, sci-fi had turned into reality with a live broadcast showing American astronaut Neil Armstrong’s dramatic descent onto the empty lunar landscape.

Between science fiction and science fact, the live coverage of the lunar landing amounted to an unusual fusion of news and entertainment.

Saudi TV technicians bring the first live images of Neil Armstrong’s 1969 moon landing to
viewers around the Kingdom. (Supplied photo)

The historic images — beamed back to Earth more than 320,000 km away — left Saudi viewers astounded and confused, but mostly elated to be witnessing such an epoch-making event.

The event was covered live on television and radio stations in Saudi Arabia. Most Saudis and residents living in the Kingdom watched it on Saudi channels 1 and 3, owned by Saudi Aramco.

Hessah Al-Sobaie, a housewife from Al-Dawadmi, recalled watching the moon landing from her grandparents’ backyard as an 11-year-old.

“It felt weird watching a human walk on the moon,” she told Arab News. “I remember the endless questions I asked as a child.”

While most people were aware that going to the moon was risky, many Saudis believed that such a journey was impossible and all but unthinkable.


1. NASA’s Apollo 11 mission control room in Houston has been restored to its 1969 condition and regular tours
will be conducted by the Johnson Space Center.

2. NASA ‘Science Live’ will have a special edition on July 23 on board the aircraft carrier that recovered the Apollo 11 capsule.

3. A summer moon festival and family street fair will be held in Wapakoneta, Ohio, from July 17-20.

4. Downtown Houston’s Discovery green will host a free public screening of the ‘Apollo 11’ documentary, with an appearance by NASA astronaut Steve Bowen.

5. Amateur radio operators will host a series of events on July 20-21.

6. The US Space and Rocket Center is staging a special ‘Rockets on Parade’ exhibition.

The Apollo 11 mission prompted discussions across the Middle East over the reality of what people saw on their TV screens. Some Saudi scholars found it hard to believe their eyes.

“I watched it, and I clearly remember each and every detail of the coverage,” Hayat Al-Bokhari, 68, a retired school principal in Jeddah, said.

“My father, Abdul, was 56 at the time. He said the landing was faked. He couldn’t believe or accept that a human could go to the moon.”

Khaled Almasud, 70, a retired university lecturer, was a student in the US state of Oregon at the time of the mission. “Americans were stunned and over the moon, happy with their national achievement. But many Saudis like me were either in denial or insisting on more proof.”

Since the beginning of the 1960s, King Faisal had been rapidly transforming Saudi Arabia, inviting foreign-trained experts to help build a modern country with world-class infrastructure.

Billie Tanner, now 90, lived in the Kingdom for many years with her husband, Larry, and their two children, Laurie and Scott, aged six and four. The family had just arrived in Saudi Arabia and headed to the Aramco compound in Ras Tanura in the Eastern Province.

A screengrab of video of the first lunar landing beamed toward Earth and shown on television worldwide. 

“We were going through a culture shock,” she told Arab News. “I wasn’t thinking of the moon landing, but we heard about it on the news from Dhahran.

“My kids tried to see the astronauts on the moon with their binoculars and said they could see them walking around.”

The Apollo 11 spaceflight has become a milestone in the annals of human history and science. Since 1969 space exploration has greatly expanded man’s knowledge of the universe, far beyond Earth’s limits.

The captivating live coverage of the moon landing inspired millions of people around the world, profoundly influencing their thinking and attitudes.

The people of Saudi Arabia were no exception.