Farm closed for using sewage water

Updated 05 February 2014
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Farm closed for using sewage water

Saad Al-Muqbil, general director of the General Administration of Agricultural Affairs in the Eastern Province, has said that the administration barred one farm from selling its produce due to its use of sewage water in irrigating crops.
The farm owner was fined SR50,000 and 14 greenhouses in his famr were dismantled. This resulted in an estimated loss of SR300,000 to the owner.
Local consumers had complained of vegetables sold in one of the well-known local grocery shops tasting foul and had voiced their concern about the quality of the crops. Shoppers demanded more intensive health control and supervision of fruits and vegetables sold in the province.
Some criticized the management of environmental sanitation in the Eastern Province Municipality and the General Administration of Agriculture.
Saad Al-Khatib, one of the shoppers, said that his wife was troubled by the foul smell emanating from the vegetables as they were being cooked.
“My wife and I stopped buying fruits and vegetables from street vendors and stalls because we noticed they were selling poor quality vegetables. However, the produce we bought from the well-known grocery shop turned out to be the same; they tasted foul and had a sewage taste to them,” he said.
Al-Muqbil said that a committee was formed to monitor the irrigation of crops. The committee comprises officials from the governorate, the police, the municipality, the Agriculture and Health Affairs, the Presidency of Meteorology and Environment and the Saudi Food and Drug Authority.
The general director asserted that during one of the committee’s field trips the specialists detected that one of the farms located in the scheme of Tufayh agricultural area, was using sewage water to irrigate crops in 14 greenhouses.
“The greenhouses were dismantled, and the seeds and drip irrigation equipment as well as crops such as: tomatoes, cabbage, cauliflower and lettuce were all destroyed; costing the owner around SR300,000,” he added.
“Appropriate action has been taken against the farm owner, as he has been fined SR50,000 and banned from selling his produce for two years,” the official stressed.
He said that the committee has not found any other instances of the use of sewage water in farms across the province.
In an earlier statement, Al-Muqbil revealed that 5 percent of agricultural products in the region contain pesticide residues.
He commended the efforts of the Agricultural Extension Department in the ministry in reducing the use of pesticides.
“The Agricultural Extension Department was able to ensure that 95 percent of agricultural products were pesticides-free and that 90 percent of the farms in the province were applying modern irrigation methods,” he said.


Clean sweep: Marine waste targeted in Red Sea tourism program

The program for eliminating marine debris will play an important material and moral role with the support of the residents of areas surrounding the seafront. (SPA)
Updated 22 September 2019

Clean sweep: Marine waste targeted in Red Sea tourism program

  • Debris major cause of death for marine life
  • Disintegration of plastic waste threaten human food resources

JEDDAH: A beach cleanup program targeting marine waste has been launched by the Red Sea Development Co. (TRSDC), the Saudi Press Agency reported.
The firm, which is behind the development of a luxury seafront tourism destination in Saudi Arabia, is already developing a range of environment-friendly policies such as zero-waste-to-landfill, zero-discharge-to-the-sea, zero-single-use plastics, and achieving 100 percent carbon neutrality. On Saturday it launched the Marine Debris Beach Clean Up Program as part of the Red Sea Project. “Eliminating marine debris is receiving increasing attention from the media that it has become a global cause, urging us to participate in protecting our virgin environment for which our seafront is known,” said TRSDC CEO John Pagano.
“The program for eliminating marine debris will play an important material and moral role with the support of the residents of areas surrounding the seafront. It will also shed light on the importance of reducing the use of nonrecyclable plastics, in addition to encouraging the disposing of these substances in a safe and sustainable manner.”
The TRSDC will continue to explore ways for recycled materials to be a source of employment opportunities for the area’s residents, he added. 
TRSDC is an official partner of the United Nations’ initiative to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the cleanup program will initially support two SDGs: Life Below Water and Life on Land. It will expand to support other SDGs, including Responsible Consumption and Production, Sustainable Cities and Communities, Decent Work and the Growth of the Economy, Ending Poverty, and Quality Education.

HIGHLIGHTS

• TRSDC is an official partner of the United Nations’ initiative to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the cleanup program will initially support two SDGs: Life Below Water and Life on Land.

• It will expand to support other SDGs, including Responsible Consumption and Production, Sustainable Cities and Communities, Decent Work and the Growth of the Economy, Ending Poverty, and Quality Education.

• Institutions or individuals wishing to take part in the beach cleanup program can find more details here: www.act4sdgs.org/partner/TheRedSeaProject

Dr. Rusty Brainard, chief environment officer at TRSDC, said: “Marine debris causes significant damage to the environment and is a major cause of death for many marine organism species, which may ingest these substances. Moreover, the disintegration of plastic waste into small pieces that penetrate into the food web base may also threaten human food resources. Our program for eliminating marine litter is a long-term project that includes ongoing monitoring of environmental health, as well as periodic intervention to clean up any waste in the Red Sea Project.”
TRSDC has teamed up with leading academic institutions in the Kingdom, such as King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) and the University of Tabuk, on a number of educational initiatives, added Brainard.
The partnership between TRSDC and KAUST has led to an international competition — “Brains for Brine” — that encourages academics, scientists, engineers and the water industry to find solutions for managing the disposal of brine, which is a waste product of water desalination, in a sustainable and commercially viable way.
KAUST has also helped TRSDC with marine spatial planning for the Red Sea Project.
As part of the planning process, major environmental studies were carried out to ensure that the area’s sensitive ecology was protected both during and after completion of the development.
The final master plan, which preserves around 75 percent of the destination’s islands for conservation and designates nine islands as sites of significant ecological value, required several redesigns to avoid potential disruption to endangered species native to the area.
Institutions or individuals wishing to take part in the beach clean-up program can find more details here: www.act4sdgs.org/partner/TheRedSeaProject