RIYADH: More than 80 Saudi volunteers took part in a cleanup operation on mangrove beaches in the east of the Kingdom.
The initiative on Tarout Island, which is connected by two causeways to Qatif, saw teams collect in excess of 300 cubic meters of debris and environmental pollutants.
The project was launched by the Eastern Province’s municipality as part of the UN-backed International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem.
The island’s mangroves provide a vital source of food in the area, and their preservation is considered important in not only protecting the environment, but also tourism and the economy in Qatif.
Other efforts to conserve mangrove forests in the country have included a Saudi Ministry of Environment, Water, and Agriculture scheme to plant more than 875,000 mangrove trees at two locations in the southern regions of the Red Sea coast.
Around 440,000 trees were planted south of Jazan city and a further 435,000 in the town of Al-Sawarimah.
Mangrove forests play a key role in sequestering vast amounts of carbon and act as a form of natural coastal defense against storms, rising sea levels, and erosion.
Over the past decade, more than a quarter of the world’s mangroves have been lost. The Saudi Green Initiative, launched last year, aims to address the situation and other climate-related issues, and forms part of the Kingdom’s overall strategy to reduce carbon emissions.
Ten billion trees are to be planted throughout the country to transform desert landscapes and rehabilitate 40 million hectares of land.