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 Arabia’s up-and-coming energy park set to transform KSA into a global industrial powerhouse

Situated in the Kingdom’s Eastern Province, between Dammam and Al-Ahsa, the project will be developed in three phases. (Supplied)
Updated 12 December 2018
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Saudi Arabia’s up-and-coming energy park set to transform KSA into a global industrial powerhouse

  • The first phase is scheduled for completion by 2021
  • SPARK will localize more than 300 new industrial services and facilities and will have specialized training centers to cater to the huge influx of manpower

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia is fast catching up with the world’s ever-growing energy and technology scene ahead of 2030. In fact, the King Salman Energy Park (SPARK) may soon prove a global destination for energy industry investors.

The new energy city mega-project is being developed by Saudi Aramco, which received authoritization to embark on the initiative in the summer, and is operated, managed and maintained in partnership with the Saudi Authority for Industrial Cities and Technology Zones (MODON). 

With projections that the megacity will create more than 100,000 jobs, it is considered one of the most up-and-coming energy parks in the world.

SPARK will localize more than 300 new industrial services and facilities and will have specialized training centers to cater to the huge influx of manpower.

Situated in the Kingdom’s Eastern Province, between Dammam and Al-Ahsa, the project will be developed in three phases. 

The first phase is scheduled for completion by 2021, while the final phase of the project is set for completion in 2035. With all this on track, the 50-square-kilometer project is poised to be a magnet for foreign and domestic investment. 

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman inaugurated the King Salman Energy Park at the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) on Monday. (SPA)

What’s more, Aramco’s espousal of SPARK will also help businesses indulge in technological development, manufacturing and exports channels and build a world-class energy supply chain. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman inaugurated the King Salman Energy Park at the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) on Monday.

During the groundbreaking ceremony, Energy Minister and Aramco Chairman Khalid Al-Falih declared SPARK a special economic zone (SEZ) in which businesses can enjoy exclusive benefits. 

“We are looking forward to collaborating with our first anchor partners at SPARK,” said Saudi Aramco President and CEO, Amin Nasser.

SPARK has already attracted investment from foreign and local companies to produce and manufacture goods and services. The first phase of the project is expected to cost about $1.6 billion. 

The park is set to attract industrial investors in the water, power, petrochemical and wastewater sectors, among others. 

Facilities at SPARK will also help investors bridge gaps in local production back home, increasing competition in the long run. 

“This energy city is exciting because it brings together a multitude of businesses,” Mark McCollum, president and CEO of Weatherford Corp, told SPARK.

“We firmly believe that collaboration and cooperation among service companies and individual providers to the energy sector is vital in breaking new ground.”

The King Salman Energy Park is also set to promote small and medium-sized enterprises. With focus on energy production, it also provides opportunities for investment in residential and commercial real estate projects.

Nasser said that the “King Salman Energy Park will spur a new era of growth for one of the Kingdom’s already thriving sectors. What’s more, it will serve as a central gateway to the region’s economies since Aramco is at the heart of the global oil and gas industry.”