World News Community awareness key to ‘protecting environment’: Saudi expert

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia on Wednesday celebrated its first Saudi Green Initiative Day highlighting the importance of fostering a sustainable legacy for future generations.

The recently announced event marks the Kingdom’s commitment to move to a greener future and commemorates the launch of the SGI by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on March 27, 2021.

This year’s theme — For Our Today and Their Tomorrow: KSA Together for a Greener Future — highlights the collaboration of more than 80 public- and private-sector projects that are part of the SGI, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The projects, representing an investment of more than SR705 billion ($188 billion) in the green economy, aim to enhance the quality of life and spur economic growth in emerging sectors in line with the objectives of Vision 2030.

The SGI has also played a crucial role in restoring natural habitats, preserving unique biodiversity, and safeguarding livelihoods by mitigating the effects of dust storms, increasing rainfall, and combating sand encroachment and desertification.

To date, 2.8 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity have been connected to the national grid, powering more than 520,000 homes, with additional projects underway to increase capacity.

Since 2021, more than 49 million trees and shrubs have been planted throughout the Kingdom, and extensive land rehabilitation efforts have been undertaken.

In a bid to increase vegetation cover in residential areas, the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs and Housing has spearheaded several planting projects.

These have included planting more than 186,000 trees in Riyadh’s Murcia and West of the Airport initiatives, around 94,000 trees in Yanbu Governorate’s Pearl of Diyar, and approximately 39,000 trees in the King Abdullah Housing complex in Al-Ahsa Governorate. Thousands of trees have also been planted in Dar Al-Jewar, Bouvardia City, Diyar Al-Hasa, and other sites.

The scheme, part of a broad commitment to environmental conservation, aims to protect 30 percent of Saudi Arabia’s land and marine areas by 2030.

Significant strides have been made toward the goal, with 18.1 percent of land and 6.49 percent of marine environments already protected, including conservation efforts that have reintroduced more than 1,660 endangered animals to their natural habitats.

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