Saudi Arabia’s Special Forces for Environmental Security (SFES) arrested five environmental violators for cutting down trees with the purpose of converting them into charcoal, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported Thursday.
The violators were also in possession of more than 600 cubic meters of stored local firewood, charcoal, and tools used for cutting and charring trees, SPA said.
SFES aims to protect the environment, wildlife and biological diversity by enforcing relevant laws and regulations in Saudi Arabia.
The spokesperson for SFES said the legal procedures were applied against the five violators by the concerned authorities, and the possessions seized were handed over to the competent authorities at the Kingdom’s Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture.
The penalty for cutting down trees in Saudi Arabia is a fine of up to 20,000 riyals ($5,332) per tree. Storing local firewood and coal amount to fines of 16,000 riyals ($4,265.68) per cubic meter, according to the spokesperson.
Saudi Arabia and the environment
Saudi Arabia has outperformed 180 countries in two indicators of environmental performance, as revealed by the National Center for Performance Measurement “Adaa,” which monitors the international indicators.
The Kingdom ranked first in the “Tree Cover Loss” and “Wetland” indicators, in addition to surpassing 172 countries in preserving and protecting natural environments and preventing the extinction of rare animal species, ranking eighth in the world in the “Species Habitat Index.”
In March, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced the “Saudi Arabia Green Initiative” and the “Middle East Green Initiative” that will both chart the Kingdom and the region’s direction in protecting land.