Mecca, Asharq Al-Awsat- The Minister of Interior and Chairman of the Supreme Hajj Committee, Prince Naif bin Abdulaziz, will set up a committee to study the environmental effects of vehicle fumes in over 60 tunnels in Mecca during the holy month of Ramadan and the hajj season.
The announcement was made by Prince Turki bin Nasser bin Abdulaziz, the Chairman of the Saudi Environment Monitoring and Protection Authority, during a symposium organized by the Mecca Chamber of Commerce and Industry entitled ‘The holy city and environmental development.’
Prince Turki confirmed to Asharq Al Awsat that there was no connection between the implementation of a number of projects in the holy city that involved the removal of some mountains and the two tremors that sporadically rocked the city over the past few years. “This falls within the domain of other authorities; however, to my best knowledge, this has no direct connection with the tremors,” he explained.
He pointed out that the Saudi Environment Monitoring and Protection Authority and the Mecca Secretariat are considering upgrading Mecca to an environmental zone, referring to bilateral coordination concerning the environmental effects during Ramadan and the hajj season with focus on the issue of waste and appropriate waste disposal that does not have long- or short- term negative environmental effects on Mecca and holy areas.
Within a relevant context, Prince Turki stated that the Saudi Environment Monitoring and Protection Authority would soon announce a project to protect all Saudi coasts from waste disposed by tankers as a precautionary measure, confirming that the kingdom intended to enforce strict regulations in this regard.
He added that the authority continued to receive compensation for the environmental damage caused by the invasion of Kuwait, which amounted to over SR 4 billion. Prince Turki acknowledged the existence of some environmental damage but denied that they are related to the cause of cancers and fetal deformities.
Prince Turki said that the authority concluded a SR12 billion deal with a specialized international firm to set up a database that enables the authority to outline an integrated national strategy for both the present and future stages.