Within Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 program is a plan to address environmental issues and implement sustainable solutions. Over the past five years, the Kingdom has taken great strides in “go green” initiatives that include everything from recycling to waste management.
Earlier this year, five national environmental centers, and an environment fund, were approved by a royal decree, as part of a national plan to regulate institutional structures in the environment sector, with climate change and sustainability two of the most important environmental challenges that Saudi Arabia faces.
Under the theme of “Generation Restoration,” Deputy Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture Mansour Al-Mushaiti stated that the Kingdom was going to great effort to restore and protect ecosystems through various campaigns over the next decade.
The ministry has launched 17 initiatives to protect the environment, as well as developing meteorological services as part of the 2020 National Transformation Program.
Al-Mushaiti added that work is underway to establish a climate change center, in addition to stopping the cultivation of crops with high water needs and the introduction of environmentally friendly and water-efficient technologies, amid 64 further initiatives within the national environment strategy.
With the goal of becoming a zero waste city, Madinah municipality has partnered up with Bee’ah, a UAE company created in 2007 and considered one of the leading companies for sustainable solutions in the Middle East, to provide waste management solutions.
With projects spanning from environmental consulting to renewable energy, technology, sustainable transportation and training and development, Bee’ah has expanded into the Kingdom and has been awarded three contracts for waste management services in Madinah, encompassing 70 percent of the city and serving 1.2 million people. Services will include solid waste collection and transportation services, disinfection and sanitization of waste bins, training sessions, workshops, and awareness campaigns.
“We are proud that Bee’ah have been tasked with deploying its world-class city cleaning and waste collection solutions for Madinah last year, and we are developing a comprehensive roadmap for waste management services to make Madinah the cleanest city in the Middle East,” Mohamed Al-Hosani, CEO of Bee’ah KSA, told Arab News.
Al-Hosani said the Kingdom is making excellent headway to promote sustainable development and to protect its environment.
Earlier this year, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced the Saudi Green Initiative and the Middle East Green Initiative aimed at reducing carbon emissions by 60 percent, increasing 50 percent of its energy capacity from renewables by 2030, and planting 50 billion trees in the Middle East.
He said the Kingdom has made a number of commitments under Vision 2030 and the G20 Summit in Riyadh last year outlining their approach to sustainability.
Meanwhile, the leading environmental sustainability solutions provider in Saudi Arabia, Naqaa Solutions, has introduced a new sustainable product: The Reverse Vending Machine (RVM).
The RVM can be utilized to collect specific recyclables while also providing incentives. Beverage containers alone take up to 50 percent of the capacity in a standard trash bin, making the RVM ideal for schools, universities, shops, supermarkets and stadiums.
These compact machines are free-standing and take all polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and aluminum containers. The RVM was created primarily to provide an easy way for the public to recycle, and was created in full compliance with European environmental directives to automatically separate and compact drink containers.
“Now more than ever before, Saudi Arabia under the ambitious leadership is heading toward sustainability in every aspect, and conserving the environment is part of achieving Saudi Vision 2030 and improving quality of life,” Mouna Eusman, co-founder of Naqaa Solutions, told Arab News.
“Our work in Naqaa is to keep up (with) and accelerate the transition to a sustainable future following the blueprint developed by the government,” she added.
Kholud Al-Fadhli, principle of Green Leaves PlayGroup, is 11 days into creating the largest map of the world out of plastic bottle caps, and hopes to beat a previous Guinness World Record by 250 square meters.
Caroline Chaptini created the world’s current largest bottle cap mosaic on May 30, 2020 in Miziara, Lebanon, measuring 196.94 square meters.
“It is an exciting idea for the Kingdom to break that record,” she said, with more than half of the map already made up of nearly 300,000 multi-colored bottle caps.
“With World Environment Day, I would like to shed light on the importance of taking care of our Earth in so many ways. I chose to collect plastic,” she told Arab News.
The idea came to her three months ago when she created a campaign to collect plastic bottle caps.
“This was for my circle of family and friends and suddenly the circle grew and it made me create a campaign to encourage people not to throw away their bottle caps, but to collect them and send them to me as I’m trying to break a world record by using these numbers of bottle caps to create a map of the world,” she said.
“I wanted to challenge myself to complete this map. I told everyone it is a good deed to recycle and once I’m done with the map, I will send all the bottle caps to Mawakeb Al-Ajer, a charity organization in Jeddah, where they will send them to recycling factories, and the factories benefit from their charity programs. It’s a self-challenge; (an) environmental and charitable goal.”