Saudi Arabia: Authorities vow tough punishment for illegal felling of trees

Cairo: Saudi authorities have blamed a company for illegally removing a rare tree in the south-western region of Jizan and vowed legal action against the violators.

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A video went viral online showing a bulldozer cutting the tree.

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A spokesman for the Saudi Ministry of the Environment, Water and Agriculture said that the company involved had removed the tree without consulting the ministry concerned.

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According to a new environment system in Saudi Arabia, unlawful tree cutting is an offence punishable by hefty fines, arrest and jailing, the official said.

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“This act is unacceptable. Work is under way to rehabilitate this long-lived tree,” he added without giving details or specifying the age of the tree.

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Intensified efforts

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The Ministry of the Environment has recently intensified efforts across Saudi Arabia to combat the tree-cutting and logging in cooperation with security agencies such as the Saudi Special Forces for Environmental Security.

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Many offenders and large quantities of firewood have recently been seized, the official said. He urged the public to help end the tree-cutting practice to protect vegetation, stop using firewood and turn to alternatives.

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Earlier this month, Saudi prosecutors warned against harming vegetation and unlawful tree cutting, pointing out that related violations are punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of SR30 million.

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