Expat-run markets wear deserted look

Updated 08 November 2013

Expat-run markets wear deserted look

Jeddah, the commercial capital of the Kingdom, was hit the hardest by the new labor laws on the first day of the post-amnesty period.
Several industries, including the construction, hospitality and service sector, commercial markets and even educational institutions, have been hit by the nonavailability of foreign workers.
The impact of the end of the amnesty deadline was visible across town, from vegetable markets, which were visibly deserted, to construction activity, which virtually came to a standstill.
Schools remained closed and commercial activity was at an all-time low.
For perhaps the first time in its history, the "Halaqa" central vegetable market had virtually no workers on the scene. This, coupled with a fall in vegetable supplies from abroad, has gravely affected market activity.
Indeed, supplies of fresh produce to Jeddah has been badly hit, resulting in spiraling fruit and vegetable prices. Potatoes, which were being sold at SR4 per kg as of Sunday, doubled on Monday to reach SR8 a kilo.
Traders said there were no supplies from Hail, where laborers stopped reporting to farms to pick and load potatoes.
Traders at vegetable markets told Arab News that there were no new shipments of vegetable produce in the past 24 hours from Taif, Hail, Tabuk and Madinah.
Many expect prices to shoot up further in the next couple of days if supplies are not restored.
The meat market was also affected badly, with Sudanese shepherds not turning up at work in east Jeddah, while the Asian butchers, which depend on imports from India and Africa, fired workers who failed to transfer sponsorships.
The food industry was also hit on the first day, with an apparent lack of supply of ingredients and cooks not turning up for work.
Bakeries were the worst hit, since most ovens used for baking bread, a staple in the Asian diet, were manned mostly by illegal workers. Restaurants and commercial kitchens also felt the pinch.
Small enterprises in the service sector were also hit by imminent raids, as were schools, which are still struggling to regularize the jobs of teachers.
Construction activity in Jeddah also came to standstill, with expat workers abstaining from work at various sites, including residential and commercial projects. The nonavailability of illegal workers has also resulted in the cost of construction going up, with legal labor taking advantage of the situation and demanding more money.
The level of construction activity can be gauged by the quantum of cement and concrete mixture sold. In Jeddah, 4,000 cubic meters of cement and concrete mixture is sold every day on average. On Monday, sales dropped to just 600 cubic meters of concrete mixture, sources told Arab News. Construction workers at various sites of the Jeddah Municipality and the National Water Company also didn’t report for work.
In Riyadh, the scene was no different. The first day of the government crackdown on illegal expatriates witnessed a slow turnout at schools, restaurants and business establishments.
The Al-Batha shopping complex in the city center appeared deserted, with many shops either empty or closed altogether.
In Madinah, security forces detained some 300 people for violating residency laws. Police officers and personnel also raided and detained undocumented foreign workers in parts of Yanbu, Al-Ula, Khaibar, Badr, Al-Mahd, Al-Hanakiyyah, Al-Ais and Wadi Al Far’.

Irfan Mohammed, Muhammad Al-Sulaimi, Abdul Hannan Tago & Yusuf Muhammad contributed to this report.


Riyadh roads turn green as world’s largest urban greening project branches out

Based on experience, roads and streets without trees contain eight to 10 times the amount of dust compared with streets lined with trees on both sides. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 03 August 2020

Riyadh roads turn green as world’s largest urban greening project branches out

  • Capital gets a facelift as Vision 2030 program works to plant 7.5 million trees
  • Most of the tree species used in the project are from a well-developed local environment with low agricultural service and care

RIYADH: The Green Riyadh project, one of the world’s largest urban greening initiatives, is rapidly bearing fruit as it transforms main roads in the capital.

Major thoroughfares, including King Khalid, Makkah and King Salman roads, are getting a facelift as part of the Vision 2030 goal of improving quality of life in the city.
Dr. Fahad Al-Mana, a professor of Ornamental Plants, Gardens and Green Areas at King Saud University, told Arab News that native tree species being used for the project include Ziziphus spina-christi, Acacia gerrardii and Prosopis cineraria, commonly known as the ghaf tree.
According to Al-Mana, the trees can survive in harsh desert conditions and will grow without intensive agricultural care.
“Most of the tree species used in the planting of the Green Riyadh project are from a well-developed local environment with low agricultural service and care,” he said.
Environmental conditions in Riyadh were taken into account during the tree selection process. The species can grow to a large size in only three years.
“In some locations, they have moved large 3-year-old local trees that were taken care of in plant nurseries to new locations where they are growing successfully,” Al-Mana said.
Green Riyadh will increase the amount of greenery in the city and augment the green cover in the Saudi capital with the planting of 7.5 million trees around the city’s main features and facilities.
The project will reduce the average ambient temperature by 2 degrees Celsius and improve air quality, encouraging people to follow a healthier lifestyle by walking or cycling.

FASTFACTS

• The project will reduce the average ambient temperature by 2 degrees Celsius and improve air quality, encouraging people to follow a healthier lifestyle by walking or cycling.

• The project will maximize the use of recycled water in irrigation works by increasing usage from 90,000 cubic meters per day to more than 1 million cubic meters per day through the construction of a new recycled water network.

• Green space in the city will increase from 5 percent to 9 percent by 2030

“The aim of planting trees in the streets is to provide shade and moderate the temperature, especially in summer, which contributes to the purification of air and reduces environmental pollution by protecting the city from sand storms, winds and dust. In addition, it gives an aesthetic view and the element of nature enters the city and nearby structures,” said Al-Mana.
He added that trees, especially those planted in central street islands, must have long trunks and high branches to avoid hindering the movement of pedestrians and cars. The trunk must measure at least 3 to 4 meters and the size of the trees planted must be proportional to the width of the island.
Al-Mana said green space in the city will increase from 5 percent to 9 percent by 2030.
According to the Green Riyadh website, the project will maximize the use of recycled water in irrigation works by increasing usage from 90,000 cubic meters per
day to more than 1 million cubic meters per day through the construction of a new recycled water network.
Al-Mana said the Green Riyadh project will also reduce carbon dioxide and impurity levels in the city.
“Based on experience, roads and streets without trees contain eight to 10 times the amount of dust compared with streets lined with trees on both sides,” he said.