RIYADH: Companies and individuals who cause pollution in Saudi waters face fines of up to SR20 million ($5.3 million) in a new campaign to protect the marine environment.
The list of offenses includes oil pollution and spills of hazardous material, leaks and loss of naval cargo in the Kingdom’s internal waters, territorial waters and the region adjacent to it, the exclusive economic zone or the continental shelf.
The new rules ban the removal of rocks, pebbles, beach sand and marine sediment.
It is also illegal to carry out any filling work, dredging, reclamation of beaches, and establishing or removing breakwaters, seawalls, coastal construction or exploration or excavation work without a permit from the National Center for Environmental Compliance.
Special provisions related to licensing marine sports activities ban marine sports and diving activities that do not use environment-friendly engines or do not obtain permits from the NCEC.
The list follows decisions by the Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture to establish a set of rules, provisions and controls that protect the marine and coastal environment from deterioration and pollution.
Abdullah Al-Mutairi, spokesperson for the NCEC, said the list took into consideration the implementation and execution of international and regional treaties approved by the Kingdom.
Its most important terms included producing and executing a program to monitor pollution in the Kingdom’s waters, he said.
This was in addition to preparing controls and conditions to combat pollution, preparing environmental controls special to marine mediums, and conditions and controls to issue and renew environmental licenses and permits for marine and coastal activities.
Al-Mutairi said the new campaign included plans for scientific studies and research programs on the quality of the marine and coastal environment.