The Saudi Green Initiative steps up its campaign against plastic pollution

RIYADH: As the world chokes on plastic pollution, the planet is ready for another Environment Day on June 5, focused on ending the disastrous effects of non-degradable waste.

According to the United Nations Environment Programme, the world produces around 400 million tonnes of plastic each year and only 9% is recycled. What’s worse? Nearly 130,000 tons of plastic waste ends up in the oceans every year.

Within three years of its launch, the Saudi Green Initiative is playing a crucial regional role in protecting the environment and reducing the use of plastics.

During those three years, SGI’s initiatives have supported international efforts to remove plastic from the oceans, develop innovative waste management systems nationwide, and divert waste from landfills.

Catalyzing SGI’s ambition to ensure a sustainable future, Saudi Basic Industries Corp. is participating in the Alliance to End Plastic Waste program to clean up plastic from the oceans.

The initiative, which is expected to be completed in 2025, supports accelerated improvements to current waste management systems in developed regions.

In early January, SABIC reaffirmed its commitment to accelerating the circular carbon economy by announcing plans to process 1 million tons of plastic through its Trucircle solutions initiative.

Trucircle is a portfolio of products offered by SABIC, which includes circular and bio-based products based on second- and third-generation renewable feedstocks, mechanically recycled polymers, ocean-bound and ocean-bound recycled solutions, and closed-loop recyclability services and projects .

Meanwhile, Saudi Investment Recycling Co. and National Center for Waste Management are leading an initiative to transform waste management in Riyadh. This program aims to divert 94 percent of Riyadh’s waste from landfills and compost more than 1.3 million tonnes of biodegradable waste.

This program aims to create a proven waste management model to be implemented across the Kingdom by 2035, which is expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 4.1 tonnes per year.

Additionally, a separate SGI initiative with the NCWM is developing a comprehensive national waste management master plan for the Kingdom, paving the way for circular economy practices. This project is expected to be completed by 2025.

SGI, inspired by Saudi Arabia’s commitment to achieve net zero emissions by 2060, has also launched several initiatives, including investing in new energy sources, improving energy efficiency and developing a and carbon storage.

In addition, SGI has also pledged to plant 10 billion trees across Saudi Arabia and rehabilitate 40 million hectares of land to restore the Kingdom’s natural beauty.

In early April, the annual report released by the National Transformation Program suggested that Saudi Arabia has planted more than 12 million trees over the past five years through the National Vegetation Development Center.

Since the launch of the SGI, Saudi Arabia has planted 18 million trees within the Kingdom, of which 13 million are mangroves. Regionally, SGI plans to plant 50 billion trees across the Middle East and restore an area equivalent to 200 million hectares of degraded land which, in turn, will reduce global carbon levels by 2.5%.

As part of SGI initiatives, Saudi Arabia has also pledged to protect 30 percent of its land and marine area and is working in partnership with major international organizations, including the International Union for Conservation of Nature, to safeguard the pristine landscapes of the Kingdom.

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