RIYADH: The Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture cultivated 230,715 wild trees in parks and rangelands across the country during the first Saudi Environment Week.
More than 856 government and private bodies participated in the initiative, launched by the ministry under the title “Protecting our environment for our society’s well-being.”
The ministry also sent 71 million SMS messages to raise awareness about the environment, and generated interactions from 12 million followers on its online platforms through the hashtag #bi’atok_baytok (Your environment, your home).
The ministry said that the week, organized in 13 provinces, had attracted more than 527,443 visitors to various initiatives, which had included 173 cleanup campaigns at wild sites and along beaches, and 39 seeding campaigns, in addition to the release of a number of wild animals into protected wildlife parks across the Kingdom in order to preserve the ecological balance and help with species conservation.
It noted the large participation of school students from 1,663 schools in different provinces, as well as over 190 associations, unions and development committees. The number of awareness camps held, meanwhile, was 63, during which over 198 lectures and awareness seminars were conducted.
The ministry praised the valuable participation of over 4,000 mosque preachers, who raised awareness about the environment, and urged people to preserve it as a religious and moral duty.
Different activities were planned across the Kingdom. In Tabuk, residents visited an environmental camp at Prince Fahd bin Sultan Park, an exhibition at Al-Makan Mall featuring a visual display on environmental awareness, and events put on by the Green Tabuk Association, Tabuk Technical College and the Saudi Meteorology Commission.
Practical activities were also organized, including seed planting at Tabuk University campus and wildflower cultivation along many of the region’s highways. The week also featured lectures from environmentalists, most prominently at the ministry’s Tabuk branch and at Tabuk University.
In Haql, the town celebrated the week by launching a volunteer project, featuring 500 students, which planted thousands of trees and seedlings and helped to clean up several local beaches. Al-Bad’ welcomed the week with a series of events, including rejuvenating local parks and planting trees on the outskirts of the town, strategically placed to reduce desertification.
In Amlaj, activities focused on how to use and recycle wastewater to irrigate gardens, along with protecting and cleaning the region’s beaches, which are a protected habitat for nesting sea turtles. Desert trees were also replanted.
The governors of Duba and Al-Wajh also used the week to launch tree-planting schemes and beach-cleaning exercises, while in Tayma the local governor, Saad bin Naif Al-Sudairi, announced that the regional government would begin to use more environment-friendly vehicles.
Saudi Arabia is taking different measures to make the Kingdom an environment-friendly country, which is one of the many goals of Saudi Vision 2030. Additionally, renewable energy holds a promising place in Saudi Arabia’s future. Earlier this year, the Renewable Energy Project Development Office (REPDO) of the Ministry of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources expressed interest in seven solar photovoltaic (PV) projects.
These projects represent the next phase in Saudi Arabia’s ambitious renewable energy plans, which seek to achieve more than 25 gigawatts (GW) of wind and solar power generation in the next five years, and close to 60 GW over the next decade, of which 40 GW will be generated from solar energy and 16 GW from onshore wind.
According to REPDO, the seven projects, located in Qurayyat, Madinah, Rafha, Al-Faisaliah, Rabigh, Jeddah and Mahd Al-Dahab, will supply enough energy to power 226,500 households and create more than 4,500 jobs during construction, operation and maintenance.
The Kingdom aims to create over the next decade a global hub of renewable energy capability, spanning local manufacturing to project development, domestically and abroad.