(MENAFN - Arab News) The Ministry of Water and Electricity has started tackling 151 sewage collection sites across the Kingdom that pose a threat to public health and the environment, a ministry official said recently.
The ministry plans to expand current waste treatment plants and create new ones to sort out the situation.
This move follows several studies carried out by a committee consisting of the ministries of water and electricity, municipal and rural affairs, finance, health, agriculture, the Presidency of Meteorology and Environment (PME), King Abdul Aziz City for Science and Technology, the Saudi Geological Survey, and academics from King Saud and King Abdul Aziz universities. The committee identified 151 sites that require immediate attention.
The official said the main recommendation of the committee was that the ministry takes the lead in tackling the problem in coordination with the PME and other ministries. The plan is to establish a new committee to oversee the expansion of sewage treatment plants and build new ones, in line with environmental protection laws and regulations.
One of the most important measures is to close sites within the borders of cities and governorates. If some cannot be closed then action should be taken to improve health and safety measures. All treatment plants should be moved away from urban areas and be downwind from farms, valleys, pastures and water resources.
The official said the committee would conduct a study to assess the impact of these measures including its effect on people living close by, soil and underground water resources. The plan includes spraying insecticides to kill mosquitoes and other insects, and remove waste and garbage around the sites. He said the government would also speed up the rollout of sanitation projects.