RIYADH: The Saudi Special Forces for Environmental Security have apprehended dozens of firewood offenders as part of a recent crackdown.
The forces said that 28 suspects were arrested in the Riyadh and Asir regions after they were caught in possession of more than 40 cubic meters of local firewood used in commercial activities.
The violators were 25 Saudi citizens, two Pakistani residents and one Sudanese resident.
The environmental forces stated that legal measures were taken against them and the seized firewood was handed over to the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture.
The ministry said that the crackdown was part of its efforts to develop natural vegetation, fight desertification, revive biodiversity and rehabilitate degraded vegetation sites.
It stressed that the penalty for using local firewood in commercial activities is a fine of up to SR32,000 ($8,500) per cubic meter.
The forces urged citizens and residents to report any cases that constitute a threat to the environment or the wildlife by calling 911 in the regions of Makkah and Riyadh, and 999 and 996 in the rest of the Kingdom.
The crackdown comes after the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture announced new regulations related to lumbering in the Kingdom, which categorize violations and penalties.
The violations include: Transporting, selling and storing local firewood and charcoal without a license, its use in commercial activities such as in restaurants and bakeries, and selling and storing imported firewood and charcoal without a license.