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RIYAD: Camping weekends have long been a favorite winter pastime for Saudis, who pitch their own tents or rent shelters in popular wilderness areas.

But this year, the experience will be different, with campers requiring a special permit issued in order to “preserve vegetation,” according to Abdul Rahman Al-Dakheel, spokesperson for the National Center for Vegetation and Desertification Control.
The center last week announced the creation of 63 sites in various parts of the Kingdom, with space for more than 30,000 campsites for government agencies and individuals.
Al-Dakheel said the declared camping sites were located in areas of vegetation and national parks overseen by the center.
Suleiman Al-Tomi, like many of his peers, spends most winter weekends camping at his own campsite near his hometown in northeastern Saudi Arabia, where he welcomes his friends and family. provides coffee, tea and ginger milk.
Al-Tomi, a teacher, said the wintry environment motivates him to spend more time at the camp, where he and his friends take turns cooking a range of dishes, mostly lamb or camel meat and rice.

As part of the preservation of the environment and the reduction of pollution, the Ministry of the Environment has set up several centers to help improve the quality of life of the inhabitants of the Kingdom by preserving the environment. through the publication of strict laws and regulations. There is the Environmental Security Force Corps which aims to protect the environment and prevent logging and pollution.

Fahd turkestani, President of the Environment Committee of the World Federation of Muslim Scouts

Salim Al-Shilaghi is keen to camp in the wild for several days. He praised the recently introduced procedures and controls for camping, which help regulate camping sites and provide suitable free sites to ensure a clean environment for campers.
New regulations taken into consideration for the privacy of families, he added.
The center stressed the importance of adhering to the controls required for camping in accordance with relevant regulations, environmental law and the conservation and cleanliness of camping sites.
He urged people to be considerate and courteous when camping, and to ensure that sites are left clean and well maintained.
The National Center for Vegetation and Desertification Control works to restore long-term vegetation, protect and rehabilitate its sites, and expand green spaces throughout the Kingdom.
The center aims to protect the plant diversity of natural environments and to preserve resources while meeting environmental challenges.
Khaled Al-Saleem, founder of the Green Land Association in Al-Jouf and Al-Khafji, said the vegetation faces a number of challenges, including overgrazing, especially during flowering times. One of the biggest threats is random grazing.
Al-Saleem said cattle eat the seeds before they dry out and ripen, so a system must be in place to prevent grazing during times of shrub growth until the seeds are released.


The National Center for Vegetation and Desertification Control announced last week the establishment of 63 sites in various parts of the Kingdom, with space for more than 30,000 campsites for government agencies and individuals.

Strict regulations have had a significant impact in reducing the destruction of vegetation, he added.
Al-Saleem, who also owns Noura Environmental Plant Nurses in Al-Jouf, said campsite checks were one of the centre’s most important pioneering actions to regulate previously unorganized and uncontrolled camping, making it free for people who have signed a conservation agreement regarding the vegetation on the site and the clean-up of the site.

The Green Land Association also recycles, with a focus on agricultural waste, which is turned into organic fertilizers.

The permit applicant had the right to proceed with the planting with the approval of the regional center management who would advise the applicant on suitable trees authorized by the Ministry of the Environment. This would significantly contribute to the preservation and cleanliness of the grasslands, he said.
Al-Saleem said he had witnessed abuse of the wilderness, with litter left behind by campers leaving the area.
“However, with this regulation, the contact details of each site, the name of its owner, and his statement are taken, and if he leaves the place unclean, he will be fined.”
Al-Saleem said that the association he founded in Al-Jouf and Al-Khafji is involved in a series of environmental conservation activities, both awareness-raising and on the ground.
The association also recycles, favoring agricultural waste, which is transformed into organic fertilizers. It also recycles tires, which are more dangerous for the environment, especially when they are burnt, turning them into products quite different from what they were designed for, such as utensils or tables.
Students who participate in reforestation campaigns understand the importance of trees and their benefits for the environment.
Day by day, awareness grows as they get involved in preserving the environment through a number of initiatives, including reforestation and cleanup. Some have started growing trees in the wilderness as a personal initiative, he said.
Fahd Turkestani, chairman of the World Federation of Muslim Scouts’ environmental committee, said: UK preserving the environment by enacting strict regulations and laws. There is the Environmental Security Force Corps which aims to protect the environment and prevent logging and pollution.
He said the Saudis were more aware of environmental issues than they were a few years ago and recognized the efforts of government agencies to ensure environmental protection at various levels, including waste treatment.
Schools and universities have initiatives to help students realize the importance of protecting the environment, he added.
Turkestani, former associate professor of chemistry at Umm Al-Qura University in Mecca, said the Saudi government’s interest in environmental conservation has become a reality, especially since the launch of the Green Initiative Saudi Arabian Republic and the Middle East Green Initiative.
These important environmental companies have encouraged global companies to compete in the conservation of the environment and the provision of services and products related to this vital issue, he added.
Turkestani said the demand for camping naturally increases during the mild Saudi winter.
He cautioned against burning firewood inside tents due to the health risk of inhaling smoke and carbon dioxide, and stressed the importance of making sure that the fires were located a good distance from vegetation areas.

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