Causeway ‘chaos’ at weekend

Updated 03 February 2015

Causeway ‘chaos’ at weekend

Commuters who crossed the King Fahd Causeway at the weekend have accused the causeway authority of failing to provide sufficient staff to cope with the volume of traffic.
A record 587,213 people crossed the causeway at the weekend, the highest number this year. The Eastern Province Passport Department has rejected the claims, saying congestion is normal on holidays and weekends.
Commuters told Arab News that there were blockages on both the Bahraini and Saudi sides of the bridge. Some claimed that several lanes were closed at the weekend, with the promised expansion not speeding up passport procedures.
Commuter Lama Al-Gosaibi said: “There are regular traffic jams on the King Fahd Causeway. There are too few counters, and those open are only staffed by a single officer. You can also often see them chatting to each other or on their mobiles. There are many cabins closed for no apparent reason.”
Ali Al-Otaibi shared this view. “I have been traveling across the King Fahd Causeway to Bahrain almost daily. There is overcrowding regularly, particularly at peak times. In addition, there are some checkpoints without any officers.”
Muhammad Shaaban said that passport and customs procedures have not changed for years despite claims from the authority that it had introduced new measures to reduce congestion and speed up processing of travel documents, including deploying more staff.
Saad Al-Dosari accused officials at the causeway of failing to solve problems of overcrowding, which have resulted in the slow processing of procedures for travelers.
Col. Muala Al-Otaibi, spokesman of the Eastern Province Passport Department, has rejected claims that there are insufficient staff members on the bridge. Traffic jams are normal during vacations and on weekends, he said.
“The Passport Department has a plan in place to deal with extra commuters, including officers prevented from taking leave, additional staff and shifts, and more lanes and counters opened. This is to ensure processing is done quickly and accurately without prejudicing security,” Al-Otaibi said.


Startup of the Week: A Saudi Eco-friendly food waste startup brings value-added benefits

KAUST has been highly supportive of Carbon CPU, both technically and financially. (AN photos by Huda Bashatah)
Updated 21 January 2020

Startup of the Week: A Saudi Eco-friendly food waste startup brings value-added benefits

  • Aldrees: “Over 90 percent of food waste in Saudi Arabia is dumped into landfills”
  • Carbon CPU’s technology uses a specially developed, eco-friendly reactor to help convert food waste into fatty acids

Carbon CPU is a biotechnology startup specializing in turning food waste into fatty acids for use as livestock nutrients.

Launched through the post-graduate startup accelerator program (TAQADAM) of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), the venture was co-founded by Bin Bian, Jiajie Xu, Yara Aldrees, Sara Al-Eid and Prof. Pascal Saikaly.

The idea behind the enterprise began to take shape in 2018. Al-Eid said: “Our aim was to recycle food waste into value-added products in a manner that matched the Saudi Vision 2030 strategy.”

Similar to most countries, Saudi Arabia has a food waste problem, but Carbon CPU thought of utilizing it in a way that caused less harm to the environment and also benefitted the animal feed industry.

“Over 90 percent of food waste in Saudi Arabia is dumped into landfills,” said Aldrees. “This produces a lot of gas, including methane, carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide and cycloaromatics, and contributes to global warming and air pollution.”

Water and soil were also being contaminated through leachate production, she added. “We’re trying to solve those issues, too.”

 

The team found that animal farms often struggled to provide enough feed nutrients for livestock such as cows and sheep. Al-Eid said there was a huge shortage of fatty acids, which are used as livestock nutrients and were in high demand from farmers.

“We’re trying to help animals live longer and be more nutritious,” she added.

Carbon CPU’s technology uses a specially developed, eco-friendly reactor to help convert food waste into fatty acids.

“We produce fatty acids from the food waste, extracting them through a liquid-liquid extraction system. The fatty acid oils are then used to help animal feed, as well as the feed and chemical industries,” said Xu.

KAUST has been highly supportive of Carbon CPU, both technically and financially, added Bian. “KAUST, especially the Environmental Biotechnology Lab led by Prof Pascal Saikaly, provided us with the facilities to set up our reactors. The KAUST Innovation and Economic Development department and the Entrepreneurship Center also gave us a lot of guidance on how to push our technology into the market.”

The startup initially faced many challenges that KAUST helped to resolve. As individuals coming from backgrounds mainly in engineering and science, the team lacked the know-how in business that its project needed.

“KAUST made up for our lack of business thinking through training on how to solve business issues and create business modules and find the right customers for our product,” said Bian.