‘Major strategic plan ready to stop environmental pollution’
The Presidency of Meteorology and Environment (PME) has set out a major strategic plan to tackle environmental pollution along Jeddah’s coasts.
“We’ll present the plan to Makkah Emir Prince Khaled Al-Faisal and await his directives,” Dr. Abdul Aziz Bin Omar Al-Jasser, PME chief, said in an interview with Okaz/Saudi Gazette.
He said the 25-year plan was prepared after conducting a comprehensive study aimed at making Jeddah one of the pioneering Middle East cities in terms of environment protection, achieving sustainable development and protection of public health. “The plan will cover other regions of the Kingdom in future,” Al-Jasser added.
Giving a detailed picture of the strategic plan, Al-Jasser said: “It covers marine environment, ground water, sewage water, garbage collection and disposal and ways to improve the quality of air. The plan also intends to stop dumping sewage water in the sea.”
Speaking about dumping of treated water in the sea, he said the PME has been in contact with the National Water Company to resolve the issue. “We should follow world-class standards in treating sewage. We should also study other options to make use of treated water.”
Saudi Arabia is one of the countries that face shortage of water and it has to make use of this water for agricultural purpose by selling it at a nominal price, instead of just throwing it into the sea, he said.
Referring to the SR38 million-contract signed with a specialized company to intensify environmental inspection, Dr. Al-Jasser said: “The contract was primarily for strengthening the presidency’s inspection capabilities and carry out its mission effectively and realize the objectives of the Kingdom’s general law for the protection of environment.”
The contract covers surveying of institutions prone to environmental inspections, preparation and regular updating of a database and classification of environmental firms in addition to conducting developmental studies on environmental inspections throughout the Kingdom with the aim of winning the international quality certificate. It also aims at training the necessary manpower required for inspections.
“The project will start by conducting a survey of all environmental institutions,” Al-Jasser said, adding that the program will be carried out following global standards. The project is supplementary to the developmental programs executed by the organization during the past two years.
He emphasized the PME’s readiness to employ women inspectors if and when required. At present there are no institutions and factories run by women. “There is no objection in appointing women as inspectors in the future and we’ll establish a separate office for them at the PME headquarters to ensure their privacy,” he said.
The PME chief urged the public to support his organization’s efforts to safeguard environment by not throwing garbage in streets and other public places.
He said the PME has imposed fines on institutions not to target them but to correct their mistakes and encourage them to follow environmental regulations. “It’s like the fines of Saher system that deter the public not to break traffic rules. But we fine firms only when they repeat the violation. If they repeat it for the third time, the firm faces closure.” Al-Jasser said.
Answering another question, he said it would be difficult to separate meteorology from environment as their roles are supplementary to each other. “In most countries we can see both of them remaining together under one organization. If there is marine environmental pollution, for example, we’ll be able to know to which direction it is moving by understanding the movement of winds,” he concluded.