Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture has launched a new initiative to monitor air quality and emissions of pollutants in a bid to improve public health, it announced recently.
The initiative requires the estimated 7,000 industrial facilities in the Kingdom with “chimneys” to install units that will measure air pollutant emissions in real time at source. These units will all be linked to a central monitoring unit that will display real-time data for all facilities — including indicators, measurements and concentration of pollutants — on an electronic map.
The project will reportedly involve legislation to ensure that all necessary steps are taken to install the measurement units and that any violators are identified. It will also help to create a national emergency plan for how to tackle critical air-pollution cases in cooperation with the relevant authorities.
According to Khalil bin Mosleh Al-Thaqafi, the president of the General Authority of Meteorology and Environmental Protection (PME), the new initiative is part of the National Transformation Program (NTP) 2020, itself a crucial first step toward achieving Vision 2030.
He added that the initiative will also expand the existing national network, which monitors the quality of ambient air in the Kingdom’s cities, to all regions of the Kingdom by completing unfinished stages and building 30 additional stations in Jazan, Najran, the Northern Province and Jouf.