Ensure environmental sustainability
Where we are?
Protection of the environment and upgrading of relevant regulations is one of the main objectives of the successive economic and social development plans in the Kingdom. Consistent with the drive to achieve sustainable development, the Ninth Development Plan (2010–2014) emphasizes conservation and protection of the environment from pollution, and conservation and development of wildlife, as well as conservation and rational utilization of natural resources. This comes in line with endeavour to achieve the sustainable development goal.
Significant developments have taken place in the two main areas of sustainable development, namely environmental protection and improving the quality of life.
The drive for environmental protection and conservation in the Kingdom reflects a commitment to implement article 32 of the Basic Law of Governance, which states that “the state shall endeavour to conserve, protect, develop and prevent pollution of the environment”. Against this backdrop, several decisions, strategies and measures were issued in the last years with an aim to integrate environment-related sustainable development principles into the government’s development policies and programs, in such a way that conserves natural resources and ensures their rational utilization. In addition, several programs and projects were implemented leading to tangible progress in all aspects of environmental protection and conservation.
The enactment of the General Environmental Law, by Council of Ministers Resolution No. 193 in 2001, was a turning point in the course of environmental activity in the Kingdom. The Meteorology and Environmental Protection Authority (PME), which is responsible for coordination and follow up of the enforcement of the law, developed the executive regulations of the General Environmental Law. In cooperation with several government agencies and communities, including a number of scientific research centres in the Kingdom, PME initiated implementation of a set of measures in industrial and urban areas. These included identification of types of pollutants and the level of their concentration in ambient air in polluted areas as well as in populated areas. In this regard, studies were conducted to make an inventory of the emissions and to link them with their relevant sources.
Promotion of public awareness of environmental issues received considerable attention from the government. Among other measures taken in this regard, Saudi Arabia launched its first satellite Arabic T.V station "Bee'aty" (“my environment”), besides setting up the national centre for promotion of environmental awareness. Several workshops were also conducted on environment and development, in addition to expansion of media campaigns designed to promote awareness on environmental issues.
The Kingdom's industrial sector takes into account the environmental considerations as from the planning phase of its projects, selection of technologies and up to the production phase. As a first step, industrial enterprises submit the relevant environmental studies, based on the recognized classification categories of the enterprise (first, second and third) where manufacturing disposibles whether gaseous, liquids or solids are identified in order to determine means of dealing with them in terms of potential of meeting environmental requirements, as stated in the General Environmental Law adopted in 2001.