Ministry moves to stop illegal dumping in residential areas

Massive fires in fenced dump yards have posed a huge challenge to firefighters.

Massive fires in fenced dump yards have posed a huge challenge to firefighters.

The Interior Ministry has instructed all relevant government departments to make sure no dangerous chemicals or radioactive and biological materials are unloaded in illegal dumps inside residential districts.

The directive came after massive fires in fenced yards caused health problems for people living in surrounding neighborhoods and posed big challenges to firefighters.

The ministry’s directive also instructed the relevant authorities to make sure that equipment and trucks left in such yards are free from dangerous chemicals and gases.

High-level sources said the government has a plan to remove all dumpsites in residential areas as they threaten the health and safety of residents. The Civil Defense, Jeddah Municipality and the police have already launched a coordinated campaign to remove illegal dumps from all over the city.

We obtained a copy of the ministry’s directive that referred to recent fire incidents in illegal dumps rented by Saudis and expatriates to store scrap material and other waste.

“Such waste may contain dangerous chemicals and gases that were not being disposed of properly,” the ministry said. It urged relevant agencies to take measures to make sure equipment and trucks carrying waste are free from toxic materials.

People living near dumpsites have complained to members of the Jeddah Municipal Council who have stressed the need to shift these sites to areas outside the city.

Residents have complained about foul smells emanating from these sites, which often become breeding grounds for diseases and rodents.

We found some of these yards were managed by illegal expatriate workers who collect leftover materials and plastic and sell them to recycling factories and other clients.

Government agencies found at least 37 illegal dumps in Hindawiyah District alone as well as several others in east and south Jeddah. Civil Defense personnel had to exert great efforts to extinguish fires that break out frequently in these sites. Three major fires were put out in such dumps this year alone where the presence of chemicals and toxic fumes had complicated the entire operations.

The municipality said it will take punitive action against illegal dumps in residential districts and urged people to notify it of any such sites by calling 940.


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