Mushrooming shisha cafes on corniche alarm visitors

Updated 05 April 2016
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Mushrooming shisha cafes on corniche alarm visitors

JEDDAH: The municipal council confirmed on Saturday that the regional governorate has received complaints from citizens on the proliferation of shisha cafes along the Jeddah corniche.
A large number of families and young men complained to the governorate about an unhealthy environment that leads to chest illnesses, and demanded that the appropriate authorities intervene and solve this problem, a local publication reported.
“When you pass by the corniche, you are filled with the smell of shisha which emits toxins and poisons in the air. Every individual who runs such cafes must be held accountable and punished,” said Mohammad Al-Johani, a frequent visitor to the corniche.
Another citizen, Fahd Al-Harbi, said the seafront has been transformed into a maze of shisha cafes. Referring to the dangers and hazards of the small gas cylinders that are used to ignite the coals, he said: “If, God forbid, they explode, a great number of people around the place would become victims. This is a source of concern, and is hazardous for picnickers and families who come to have a peaceful moment along the seafront.”
Another citizen, Ibrahim Qara, said that on Thursday and Friday, during the weekends, large numbers of shisha smokers come to the corniche. “I stopped going there with my family on these days,” he said.
A recent medical study found that shisha smoke contains large quantities of toxic materials that cause cancer, and that the blood of shisha smokers contains high levels of carbon monoxide.
Shisha smoking is associated with elevated risks of cancer and chronic serious diseases because of its high content of lead and arsenic. And because shisha smokers take turns using the water pipe, from one mouth to another, this makes them further exposed to the risks of infectious diseases.
The spokesman for the Jeddah Municipal Council, Saeed Al-Zahrani, said there was a decision issued by the Interior Ministry to prevent shisha smoking on the corniche.
Jeddah municipality spokesman Omar Humaidan said the corniche is a public entertainment site and people cannot be banned from enjoying it.
Meanwhile, the municipality denied rumors circulating in the social media that a committee, formed by the municipality and the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (Haia), has confiscated shishas on the corniche and forced smokers to pay a fine of SR300.
However, it said: "Any individual practices that may cause damage to public facilities are punishable and include fines and other penalties.”


Saudi businesswomen eye greater role in the economy with end to driving ban

The end of the driving ban is expected to help bring an economic windfall for Saudi women. (Shutterstock)
Updated 23 June 2018
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Saudi businesswomen eye greater role in the economy with end to driving ban

  • The historic move is a huge step forward for businesswomen in the Saudi Arabia, says businesswoman
  • A recent survey by the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce indicated that transportation was a major concern holding Saudi women back from joining the labor market

The end of the driving ban will boost women’s financial power and allow them to play a bigger role in economic and social diversification in line with Vision 2030, prominent businesswomen said on Friday.

Hind Khalid Al-Zahid was the first Saudi woman designated as an executive director — for Dammam Airport Company — and also heads the Businesswomen Center at the Eastern Province Chamber of Commerce and Industry. 

She sees the historic move as a huge step forward for businesswomen in the Kingdom.

“Women being allowed to drive is very important; of course this will help a lot in sustainable development as the lifting of the ban on women driving came as a wonderful opportunity to increase women’s participation in the workforce,” she told Arab News on Friday, ahead of the end of the ban on Sunday.

She added that women in the job market are under-represented; they make up to 22 percent of the national workforce of about six million according to official estimates. Lifting the ban will help to take women’s representation in the workforce to 30 percent by 2030, she said.

“This is not just the right thing to do for women’s emancipation, but also an essential step in economic and social development as part of the reforms,” she said.

She said that there were different obstacles in increasing women’s participation in the workforce and other productive activities, and the driving ban was one of them. It was a strategic issue that needed to be addressed on a priority basis. With the issue resolved, it would help immensely in giving Saudi women better representation as they would help to diversify the Saudi economy and society.

She said that women could contribute hugely to the workforce and labor market as half of Saudi human resources were female, and unless allowed to excel in different sectors it would not be possible to do better, mainly because of restricted mobility.

A recent survey by the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce indicated that transportation was a major concern holding Saudi women back from joining the labor market.

Nouf Ibrahim, a businesswoman in Riyadh, said: “It will surely boost female economic participation and help increase women’s representation in the workforce immensely. It will also help to reduce the overall national unemployment rate as most of the unemployed are women and many of them are eligible as university graduates.”

She echoed the opinion that the move would help to bring an economic windfall for Saudi women, making it easier for them to work and do business, and thus play a bigger and better role that would help economic and social diversification in line with Saudi Vision 2030.

“Being able to drive from Sunday onwards after the ban is lifted will be a wonderful experience. Earlier we were dependent on a male family member and house driver to take us to workplace, to the shopping center, school or other required places for some work, now we can drive and that will allow active participation in productive work,” Sulafa Hakami, a Saudi woman working as the digital communication manager with an American MNC in Riyadh, told Arab News.

“Saudi women can now share effectively the bigger and better responsibilities,” she said.