Saudi Arabia is as rich in sunshine as it is in oil. Now the desert empire is environmentally greening.
In March, the Presidency of Meteorology and Environment (PME) decreed that all companies had five years to meet new air, water and noise pollution standards.
Saudi Arabia is also in the midst of a building boom; companies that don’t play by the new rules by the five-year deadline :will see their projects shut down and suspended for three months,” according to PME general manager Abdul Aziz Al-Jasser. Faisal Alfadl, Secretary General of the Saudi Green Building Forum (SCBF) call the decree “an excellent move.”
The regulations touch on everything from soil and land preservation to noise pollution from operating machinery to hazardous and radioactive waste that enters Saudi Arabia's coastal waters.
One of the largest projects is the King Abdullah Economic City , Alfadl says. "These will all become green building projects, help lower the region's carbon emissions and improve public safety and health." Projects will also strive to be USGBC LEED certified.
According to an article in the Guardian, David Ottaway, senior scholar at the Middle East Program of the Wilson Center, says that the PME decree shows that Saudi Arabia's government recognizes that environmental issues exist.The SGBF's Alfadl is overseeing bog projects such as “retrofitting over 90,000 mosques in the kingdom using advanced green building techniques to reduce lighting and energy consumption by 40 to 80% and water usage by 30 to 40%,” the Guardian reports.