Environmental Protection in KSA

This page highlights Saudi Arabia's efforts in protecting the environment and its resources, and the participation of Saudi Arabia in the international efforts to preserve the environment.

Environmental protection is a primary system within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia dedicated to tackling environmental challenges, in alignment with the Kingdom’s 2030 vision, making a quantum leap in environmental protection leading to the reduction in the percentage of environmental pollution.

Environmental Challenges in the Kingdom

Economic development, continuous population growth, rapid urbanization, and increasing demand for water and energy create environmental challenges in Saudi Arabia.

The Most Prominent Environmental Challenges

Polluted well water, cement factories' wastes, increased emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide, land degradation and desertification, and others, which may cause an increase in environmental pollution and environmental risks.

The Kingdom's Most Prominent International Efforts in Protecting the Environment

Fulfilling its duty towards the environment, the Kingdom by launching initiatives and projects related to the protection of the environment. Some of the most prominent efforts include:

  1. Establishing a research fund for energy and the environment
  2. The Kingdom has the most significant environmental reconstruction project in history. The project is focused on developments, which were integrated after the Gulf War and costed the Kingdom more than. 1.1 billion US Dollars.
  3. The Center for Desert Agriculture works on developing sustainable, low-input systems, which use water efficiently to produce food and grains and are proportionate with the coastal desert environments that depends on agriculture in relation to sea water and sunlight.

Innate Protection in the Kingdom

The Kingdom used to conduct the necessary biological and social studies and surveys to prepare the protected areas system with the World Union's expertise for Conservation of Nature. Experts from the Union and the Commission prepared a document, "a national system for preserving wildlife and sustainable rural development in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia," based on which the announced network of regions was established protected so far in the Kingdom.

Wildlife and Livestock

The Kingdom has given great attention and importance to the wildlife initiatives and projects related to the environment by issuing regulations that preserve protected areas of wildlife and plant life aimed at controlling the trade and hunting of endangered wild animals and birds used for production purposes.

Protected Area System

The Kingdom has used the necessary biological and social studies and surveys to prepare the Protected Area System with the proficiency of the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Experts from the Union and the Commission prepared the following document, “A National System for Preserving Wildlife and Sustainable Rural Development in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia”, on the basis of which the announced network of regions was established and protected in the Kingdom thus far. The recently updated system, in accordance with environmental developments, includes a proposal dedicated to protecting 75 areas including, 62 land areas and 13 coastal and marine areas.
To view the map of Protected Areas in the Kingdom and obtain information about them, please visit this page.

Classification of Wildlife in the Kingdom

You can also see other types of wild animals that live in the Kingdom by visiting this page.

Marine Life and Fish Livestock

The Kingdom believes in the importance of marine life and has adopted strategies and policies to limit any interference in the marine system. This has become possible through the adoption of the National Strategy for Preserving the Kingdoms Biodiversity, established in 2005, which aims to ensure the preservation and development of biological diversity by studying the current status of biological diversity, the threats faced, and the means to preserve and develop it.

Initiatives of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to Conserve Marine Life

Classification of Marine Livestock in the Kingdom

Agricultural environment

The agricultural sector in the Kingdom faces several challenges and pressures. It may negatively affect the future of agriculture due to natural causes or human activities, which lead to the spread of environmental pollution, the decrease in soil fertility, and the high rate of desertification, which may affect agricultural productivity resources. Therefore, significant developments have been made in relation to the implementation of necessary agricultural practices to ensure food safety and security, consumer protection, and environmental preservation. Practitioners in agricultural fields must obtain accredited certificates to ensure food products are safe before being officially launched in the market.

System for Dealing with Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture

The system for dealing with plant genetic resources for food and agriculture was introduced as a way to implement the Kingdom's commitments with the United Nations International Treaty and related agreements. It recognizes the importance of preserving the national wealth, which is a vital basis on which farmers, plant breeders, and researchers depend on to achieve food security and develop vegetation. The system has set goals, the most important being::

  1. Preserving plant genetic resources from degradation and extinction.
  2. The sustainable use of these resources through studies and scientific research to explore them.
  3. Exchanging plant genetic resources with research centers and local and international gene banks and sharing the benefits resulting from their use.
  4. Organizing the process of handling, entry, and exit of plant genetic resources through border points in cooperation with the competent authorities.
  5. Protect the intellectual property rights of local farmers' traditional practices and encourage their efforts.

The Initiative of the National Program for Environmental Awareness and Sustainable Development

An initiative was established to raise awareness of environmental issues, thus raising individual and collective responsibility for preserving and enhancing every individual's role in society as a vital factor in protecting the environment by rationalizing the use of natural resources and reducing their pollution.

The initiative works in two ways:

  • First: The Performance Measurement Study: To find out current environmental awareness through field surveys at the level of individuals and institutions.
  • Second: Environmental Awareness Programs: To implement campaigns that serve the main objective of the initiative and track the development of the level of environmental awareness for all segments of

The Kingdom's International Participation in Preserving the Environment

The Kingdom has participated in many international events to preserve the environment, and these examples including:

  • Green Riyadh

The Green Riyadh project was launched as one of the major Riyadh projects launched by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz. It comes as an achievement of the Kingdom's 2030 vision of raising the classification of Riyadh globally.

  • Environment Week

A week is devoted to the environment every year. The Ministry of Environment, Water, and Agriculture undertakes its establishment and implementation by inviting governmental and private agencies and environmental associations to participate in its activities in the first week of each year's spring season. The Environment Week is an important awareness initiative on the importance of the environment and its preservation. It also aims to raise each individual’s awareness and responsibility towards the environment and collectively create an environmentally conscious society.

The National Center for Monitoring Environmental Compliance

The National Center for Monitoring Environmental Compliance was established to carry out several basic tasks through which it seeks to achieve environmental sustainability and prosperity in developmental halls and to improve the quality of life.
The services are:

A service provided to clear ozone-depleting gases in various fields: refrigeration, industry, maintenance, and fire fighting by national regulations and international agreements.

This service is provided for environmental assessment and auditing of non-existing and existing projects from an environmental point of view, classifying them according to the general environment system and issuing environmental permits according to their category

Entities working in the field of environmental services can issue or renew a qualification certificate through the National Center for Monitoring Environmental Compliance

This service allows the issuance of environmental permits or approvals for establishments and entities with activities related to the environment and affecting them in the commercial field.

This service allows issuance of environmental permits or approvals for establishments and entities with activities related to the environment and affecting them in the agricultural field.

This service allows environmental rehabilitation for companies, private institutions, and government agencies to work in the field of municipal solid waste

Garbage Recycling

The Concept of Re-using or Recycling of Waste

Recycling is meant to convert used materials and waste into new products. Much of our household waste can be broken down and reprocessed to make new things; This process uses less energy and resources than it takes to manufacture new goods, gives a major boost to our environment. The government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has allocated programs and initiatives to re-use and recycle waste.

Re-use or recycle waste in the system

Out of concern for the environment, the Kingdom has placed a system of municipal solid waste management. It is taking into account international regulations and international standards and has also worked with Gulf countries to develop a unified approach for managing healthcare waste in the Cooperation Council countries for the Arab Gulf States.

Solid Waste

The Kingdom is always looking for sustainable solutions to manage waste and convert it into valuable resources. It has created solutions for comprehensive treatment of municipal solid waste, including material recovery facilities that allow for the possibility of sorting and extracting recyclable materials, in addition to composting processes in which organic waste is converted into nutrient-rich compost. Waste that cannot be treated is transformed into an energy source. It has also created systems to recycle construction and demolition waste to divert it from landfills and empty lands around our cities while extracting high-quality rubble for construction projects throughout the Kingdom.

Hazardous Waste

Hazardous waste has specific measurements that include treatment, storage, and transportation for safe disposal. The best technique is to spot the light of environmental protection, public health, and resource recovery for a longer period to complete the circular economy approach by making use of innovative recycling solutions. The Kingdom is taking measures to protect the environment by investing in the processing and recovery of materials, such as tires and electronics, to convert them into valuable resources to manufacture new products. These waste types can cause severe pollution and usually require a special method in dealing with and disposing of them due to their characteristics such as size, biological and chemical characteristics, and regulatory classification. Saudi Aramco has also published an article on innovative recycling of industrial waste to achieve a circular economy's features.

Waste Recycling Programs and Initiatives

The Saudi Investment Recycling Company (SARC):
The company was established to develop various activities to deal with all types of waste and finance it to build recycling capabilities in the Kingdom and achieve sustainability with its knowledge in 4 areas:

  1. Municipalities: To provide comprehensive solutions for municipal solid waste such as material recovery facilities that allow for the possibility of sorting recyclable materials, in addition to composting, recycling of construction, and demolition waste.
  2. Industry: By applying the best techniques for waste treatment, environmental protection, public health, and resource recovery for longer use, and by designing modern incineration facilities to treat hazardous materials safely.
  3. Recycling: By working on innovative solutions to recycling waste and investing in processing materials and converting them into valuable resources for the manufacturing of new products such as tires and factories.
  4. Engineering: Manages all aspects of engineering, procurement and construction focused on recycling facilities and technologies, from concept building to internal construction and facility operations

The National Environmental Recycling Company (Tadweer):
A leading company specialized in recycling electronic and electrical waste, WEEE Recycling to preserve the environment and protect society from damages resulting from these wastes by providing environmental and safe solutions for their recycling by approved international standards.

Yanbu United Company (UNITCO) Company:
In addition to the company's main field, YUNITCO has worked to set environmental goals to maintain a clean environment and a healthy climate to build a prosperous nation using the most advanced and technical methods to work on innovative solutions at the highest levels. The recycling plant in Yanbu Al-Sinaiyah is the largest in the Middle East and North Africa and the second largest globally.

Kingdom Agreement for Waste Recycling in Riyadh

The National Center for Waste Management, the Riyadh Region Municipality, and the Saudi Investment Recycling Company, one of the Real Estate Investment Fund companies, signed a tripartite memorandum of understanding to start integrated waste and recycling activities in the city of Riyadh. This will include:

  1. Enhancing cooperation and joint coordination between them to implement the comprehensive strategy for the waste management sector in Al-Yad city
  2. Achieve a set of strategic goals for recycling by 2035, most notably 81% of municipal solid waste's annual production volume.
  3. Lifting, removing, and recycling construction and demolition waste scattered in the neighborhoods and streets of Riyadh, estimated at 20 million tons.

For more details, you can review the framework agreement to start integrated management and waste recycling activities in Riyadh

Saudi Electricity Company's Initiative to Recycle Waste

The Saudi Electricity Company has sought, through its accelerated strategic transformation program, to achieve leadership in the field of environmental protection in the Kingdom. From promoting reliance on clean energy sources, optimal use of resources, re-use and recycling, and reducing environmentally harmful waste. After studying the waste generated from the company's facilities and stations, it came up with innovative solutions and benefited from recycling and hazardous waste. It also cooperated with a company specializing in waste recycling and was qualified by the General Authority of Meteorology and Environmental Protection and completed the feasibility study of recycling used batteries, paper waste, non-precious metals, chemical residues, oil residues, and transformer oils to reduce resource loss and reduce hazardous waste production.

Weather Conditions and Meteorology

The Climate of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

The Kingdom's climate differs from one region to another due to its diverse topography, as it is under the influence of the high tropical altitude. The Kingdom's climate is continental, hot in summer, cold and rainy in winter and the weather is temperate in the western and southwestern highlands. Simultaneously, the central regions have hot and dry summers and cold and dry winters with high temperature and humidity on the coasts.

Rainfall in winter and spring, which is a little rain, falls on large areas of the Kingdom, except for the southwestern highlands of the Kingdom, as its rains are relatively heavy during summer. As for humidity, it rises on the western coasts and highlands most days of the year and decreases as you head inland.

Weather and Meteorology Services

Automated Early Warning System
The National Center of Meteorology offers an automatic early warning service. This system seeks to deliver warnings of air traffic control, including heavy rains and tornadoes, to the beneficiaries at the required speed by specifying the time and place. The visitor to the page can see a map of the Kingdom, on the center's website, to obtain information on the weather, and other details related to alarm cases. The map is colored green, yellow, orange, and red, and each color on the map means a stage of early warning for this region in the Kingdom as follows:

• Green (Notice): to inform about the possibility of the Kingdom being affected by an air
• Yellow (Caution): means a warning about the possibility of an area being affected by an atmospheric phenomenon.
• Orange (Advanced Alert): an advanced warning about the weather phenomenon's impact indicating that caution must be taken.
• Red (Warning): a warning of an extreme weather event or torrent indicating that a high level of caution must be taken along with instructions from the civil defense.

Air Quality Index
It is a service provided by the National Center of Meteorology. It simplifies the method for identifying the status of air quality based on data received from air quality monitoring and monitoring stations. Pollutant concentrations are converted to simple numbers that can be understood by the general public and shown as specific colors. The Air Quality Index expresses the following major air pollutants: carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), ground ozone (O3), sulfur dioxide (SO2), dust particles (PM10) and dust particles (PM205).

On the Kingdom’s map displayed on the center's website, the air quality is indicated by geographical location in six colors: green, yellow, orange, red, purple, and brown. These colors symbolize air quality as follows:

  • Green (healthy - air quality index value from 0 to 50): The air quality condition is excellent, and the concentration of all air pollutants are below the acceptable standards.
  • Yellow (moderate - air quality index value from 51 to 100): The air quality condition is acceptable, and the concentrations of all air pollutants are within the permissible limits.
  • Orange (unhealthy for sensitive groups - air quality index value from 101 to 150): The air quality condition is considered moderate, with a slight exceeding of the permissible limits. Some sensitive individuals may suffer from health effects, however, most people are not affected by this.
  • Red (unhealthy - air quality index value from 151 to 200): The air quality condition is considered unhealthy with significant exceeding of the permissible limits. Individuals with allergic diseases may suffer more health symptoms.
  • Violet (Harmful - air quality index value from 201 to 300): The air quality condition is considered entirely unhealthy and exceeding the permissible limits. In this case, it is necessary to issue health warnings about an emergency. The general public may be affected by this.
  • Brown (Danger - Air Quality Index value from 301 to 500): The air quality condition is reaching levels that are dangerous to human health.

Weather Warnings
Based on the National Center of Meteorology data, the Civil Defense sends text messages warning about the weather (air quality, dust, hurricanes, rain, and floods) to citizens and residents according to geographical distribution.

The National Center of Meteorology, through its Twitter account, continuously sends out forecasts and warnings of weather conditions.

Climate Action in Saudi Arabia

The gravity of natural and climate disasters has not gone unnoticed by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The affects that climate change has on the national economy and the lives of people is apparent. As weather patterns change and sea levels rise, weather events become more severe, therefore, below are a set of developed regulations, plans and associated procedures, in order to protect life and property from all potential natural hazards.

Initiatives of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to Preserve the Climate

  • The launch of the Ministry of Environment, Agriculture and Water initiative to develop systems for monitoring weather phenomena, in order to protect lives and property, and limit any detrimental effects and outcomes. 
  • Establishment of a national plan to deal with natural disasters. This plan covers a set of scenarios that may occur, including heavy rain, rapid surface winds and devastating earthquakes, to name a few. 
  • Establishment of a national plan for chemical and microbial accidents. This plan covers the necessary measures and procedures in the event of chemical or bacteriological accidents aimed at controlling them and limiting their impact and spread. 
  • Establishing a national plan for facing marine disasters. This plan covers a set of measures and procedures aimed at confronting any potential disasters in the Kingdom's seas.
  • Issuing executive regulations for evacuation and shelter operations. These regulations cover procedures, measures and responsibilities for evacuation and shelter before disasters strike, in order to protect civilians from exposure to any potential disasters.
  • Issuing the National Environment Strategy.

Renewable Energy

The National Renewable Energy Program in the Kingdom

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has launched a comprehensive national development strategy to support the diversification of energy sources to achieve the goal of reaching (3.45) gigawatts of renewable energy by 2020, (9.5) gigawatts by 2030, and (54) gigawatts by 2040. The Kingdom is also working towards reviewing the legal and regulatory framework in private sector investment in renewable energy sources, localize the industry by encouraging partnerships between the public and private sectors, and ensure the competitiveness of renewable energy by gradually liberalizing the hydrocarbon market.

The Kingdom's Efforts in Renewable Energy

  1. The Kingdom joins the International Solar Energy Alliance.
  2. Signing an agreement with a soft bank of 200 gigawatts at the cost of $ 200 billion.
  3. Announcing the Kingdom's 2030 plan to build a sustainable solar energy sector.
  4. Establishing the Renewable Energy Projects Development Office at the Ministry of Energy.
  5. Attract foreign capital to contribute to building this sector.
  6. Connecting medium and small solar energy projects to the Saudi electricity grid.
  7. Finding training institutes to rehabilitate Saudi youth.
  8. Providing jobs for citizens in the field of renewable energy.
  9. Establishing a local renewable energy industry.
  10. Supporting local renewable energy research centers.

Environmental legislation- International Systems and Strategies for Preserving Wildlife in the Kingdom

International Systems and Strategies for Preserving Wildlife in the Kingdom

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Last Modified Date: 04/04/2021 - 8:45 AM Saudi Arabia Time
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