New $5 million fines for polluting Saudi waters

Companies and individuals who cause pollution in Saudi waters face fines of up to SR20 million ($5.3 million) in a new campaign to protect the marine environment.

The list of offenses includes oil pollution and spills of hazardous material; leaks and loss of naval cargo in the Kingdom’s internal waters; territorial waters and the region adjacent to it; the exclusive economic zone or the continental shelf.

The new rules ban the removal of rocks; pebbles; beach sand and marine sediment.

It is also illegal to carry out any filling work; dredging; reclamation of beaches; and establishing or removing breakwaters; seawalls; coastal construction or exploration or excavation work without a permit from the National Center for Environmental Compliance.

Special provisions related to licensing marine sports activities ban marine sports and diving activities that do not use environment-friendly engines or do not obtain permits from the NCEC.

The list follows decisions by the Minister of Environment; Water and Agriculture to establish a set of rules; provisions and controls that protect the marine and coastal environment from deterioration and pollution.

Abdullah Al-Mutairi; spokesperson for the NCEC; said the list took into consideration the implementation and execution of international and regional treaties approved by the Kingdom.

Its most important terms included producing and executing a program to monitor pollution in the Kingdom’s waters; he said.

This was in addition to preparing controls and conditions to combat pollution; preparing environmental controls special to marine mediums; and conditions and controls to issue and renew environmental licenses and permits for marine and coastal activities.

Al-Mutairi said the new campaign included plans for scientific studies and research programs on the quality of the marine and coastal environment.