Monday 25 October 2021

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Saudi Arabia imposes $5m fine for polluting waters

RIYADH, September 5, 2021

Saudi Arabia’s National Center for Environmental Compliance (NCEC) has announced a fine of up to SR20 million ($5.3 million) on anyone found polluting marine waters and aquatic environments.

NCEC said that it has issued the executive regulations for the sustainable management of the marine and coastal environment, as per a decision by the Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture, reported Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

The executive regulations established a set of rules, provisions, and controls that ensure the protection of the marine and coastal environment from deterioration and pollution and the prevention of damage, whether in the internal waters, the territorial sea of the Kingdom, the adjacent area to the special economic zone or the continental shelf.

The NCEC official spokesperson Abdullah Al-Mutairi explained that the regulation reflects the Kingdom’s keenness to maintain a clean, sustainable, and pollution-free marine environment, preserved from environmental degradation.

He added that the regulation took into account the international and regional agreements ratified by Saudi Arabia related to protecting the marine and coastal environment from deterioration and pollution, and in coordination with The General Authority for Ports (Mawani) and the Public Transport Authority to inspect ships and run the necessary tests and measurements to ensure compliance with international maritime conventions and treaties.

Al-Mutairi said the regulation includes a table of penalties against whoever violates the regulations and rules, which amount in some cases to SR20 million, taking into account the distribution of enforcement roles to the Environmental Compliance Center and all relevant environmental centers.

He stated that the regulation stipulated the preparation and follow-up of the implementation of national and local response plans to emergencies and potential environmental disasters in the marine and coastal environment, including oil pollution and harmful substances, and the importance of informing the competent center as soon as any leakage of oils or harmful substances occurred, or the loss of any of the cargo of the marine vessels occurring within the geographical scope of the Kingdom.

The spokesperson added that the regulation also included plans to implement scientific studies and research programs related to the quality of environmental media in the marine and coastal environment to protect it from pollution and deterioration.

These plans are in addition to organizing activities related to environmental guidance, including holding courses, seminars, workshops, specialized sessions and media campaigns aimed at raising environmental awareness, as well as tasking the center with preparing controls for marine media about the protection of the marine and coastal environment,

It also included provisions for licensing marine sports activities that prohibit holding competitions, marine sports activities, and diving without ensuring that the participating means are equipped with environmentally friendly engines, without obtaining a license from the National Center for Environmental Compliance, without prejudice to the competencies of the Ministry of Sports and relevant government agencies.

Al-Mutairi concluded that this regulation aims at the sustainability of the marine environment, as it contains many prohibitions according to the specializations of the environmental centers, including, but not limited to: the prohibition of removing rocks and gravels, removing beach sand and marine sediments, and carrying out any backfilling, dredging or reclamation of beaches, or the establishment or removal of sea waves quarries and walls, or any coastal construction or demolition, or any exploration or excavations without obtaining a license from the center.


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