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Saudi Arabia Releases 9 New Environmental

Jan 26th, 2013 | By Sanaa Chakibi | Category: Environmental Management

This article summarizes 9 new environmental laws issued by Saudi Arabia in 2012 and provides links
to the legislation in English.

Saudi Arabia has acted with urgency to develop a comprehensive framework for measuring and
monitoring activities that cause environmental degradation. Its actions include measures to ensure
efficient use of natural resources, prevention of depletion, and implementation of sustainable
development. Saudi Arabia has adopted a comprehensive list of Standards and Guidelines. It
regulated matters ranging from air pollution, to wastewater management, to transportation of
chemicals; sustainability was an important principle incorporated in these measures.

Significant new environmental laws in Saudi Arabia are summarized below.

Ambient Air Standard 2012
Ambient Air Standard 2012 was published and made mandatory on March 24, 2012. The Standard
relates specifically to the ambient air quality in Saudi Arabia. The Standard prescribes limit values
for ambient air quality parameters and establishes the responsibilities of the Presidency of Metrology
and Environment (PME) with regard to managing ambient air quality in the kingdom. The Standard
aims to provide a basis for the maintenance and restoration of ambient air quality in an effort to
prevent or reduce harmful effects on human health and the environment. It introduces new limits for
companies that are required to manage their emissions. However, if the company performs one of
the exempted activities, the limits stated by this Standard would not apply. The Standard exempts
from limitations dispersion zones (which are authorized by the PME), indoor air, and natural events.
A different Standard on air adopted on the same day and made mandatory for all new equipment
relates to the control of emissions from mobile sources.

Standard on Emissions from Mobile Sources 2012

The Standard on Mobile Sources Emissions requires companies to reduce their emissions to the
levels required and to properly maintain their equipment to ensure emissions reduction. The
Standard presents a framework for a sustainable management of mobile sources. It sets out
emission limit values depending upon the engine type and capacity. Companies are required to
ensure that the emissions of their mobile sources are in compliance with the emission limits for all
new equipment. However, for existing equipment they have five years to bring their emissions in line
with the limits stated. The Standard introduces emission limits for pieces of equipment used outdoors
and aims at protecting, maintaining, and improving the environment and public health. The mobile
sources include those such as mobile generators, agricultural machinery, and large earthmoving
equipment. The emission limits include those for diesel engines, small and large gasoline engines,
and recreational vehicles not included in Saudi Arabia Standard Organization (SASO) Standards.

General Environmental Standard for Noise 2012

The General Environmental Standard for Noise of 2012, which introduced noise emission limits, was
made mandatory on March 24, 2012. The Standard regulates community noise, noise from industrial
units in areas set aside primarily for industrial facilities, noise from construction activities, noise from
vehicles (including motorized vessels and recreational craft), and noise from equipment used
outdoors. The Standard issued by the PME provides a basis for statutory control to restrict and
reduce the nuisance caused by environmental noise. It must be noted that the Standard does not
address the issue of occupational noise, which is regulated by the National Health and Safety Laws.
Furthermore, the Standard does not extend to noise related to public transportation, including noise
from highways and railways, and noise from commercial and private aircraft, including helicopters,
both in flight and operating on the ground, as well as to some other activities that are exempt,
including calls for prayer and sports events.

National Ambient Water Quality Standard of 2012
The Standard sets forth a framework for the sustainable management of ambient water quality by
protecting the water supply and the natural aquatic environment. It provides, additionally, a basis
for the restoration of water used for recreational, agricultural, industrial, potable, and ecological
purposes. This Standard applies to all coastal and underground water and includes any surface
freshwater that may be present permanently or temporarily. On March 24, 2012, the National
Ambient Water Quality Standard for Saudi Arabia adopted by the Presidency of Metrology and
Environment became effective. The ambient water covered by the Standard includes coastal and
underground water and any surface freshwater that may be present permanently or temporarily.

Wastewater Discharge Standard of 2012

Companies and persons discharging wastewater are now subject to the Wastewater Discharge
Standard as of March 24, 2012. The Standard aims at enabling Saudi Arabia to reach its ambient
water quality objectives. The Standard sets out use-related criteria and specific limits on individual
discharges designed to protect water quality. Liquid waste generators are required to comply with the
emissions limits, permit requirements, as well as any reuse or conservation requirements. Notably, if
a facility cannot restrict its emissions to the limits stated in the Standard, it is required to obtain a
permit by June 24, 2012. The Wastewater Discharge Standard applies to liquid emissions generated
by persons or facilities. It is intended to improve wastewater management in Saudi Arabia without
increasing the financial burden on companies.

Chemical Management
Technical Guideline of 2012 on the Prevention of Major
In the case of activities involving the manufacturing, processing, using, storing, or otherwise handling
of dangerous substances irrespective of their size or location, it is now required to take necessary
actions to prevent major accidents, such as the release of toxic materials, the release of flammable
materials, fires, explosions, major structural failures, and any accident that involves dangerous
substances. The Standard is mandatory for all facilities storing or handling hazardous chemicals in
excess of the threshold values. The Technical Guideline on the Prevention of Major Accidents
intends to reduce and prevent accidents involving dangerous substances. The Guideline states that
there are different categories of companies varying from lower tier to higher tier based on the
threshold levels. The Standard entered into force on March 24, 2012.

Standard on Waste Transportation 2012

Hazardous, non-hazardous, and inert waste transporters must comply with the updated Framework
for Waste Transportation in Saudi Arabia. The Standard on Waste Transportation adopted by the
Presidency of Metrology and Environment intends to monitor and control waste movement to protect
both human health and the environment, as well as to provide consistent standard requirements for
hazardous substances regarding the classification and labeling of waste to facilitate the movement of
waste and dangerous goods inside and outside the country. Companies are now required to comply
with the labeling and classification requirements regarding the waste transported, necessary
documentation for the waste transported, vehicle safety, and the drivers training and certification.
The Standards main purpose is to reduce road accidents involving waste transporters, to provide
waste transporters with a consistent system regarding waste classification and waste labeling, to
facilitate transboundary waste movement, as well as to simplify waste transportation processes to
ensure easier compliance.

Waste Treatment and Disposal

Environmental Standards on Material Recovery and
Recycling of Waste 2012
Companies operating in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia might have to comply in the near future with
the new waste disposal and treatment procedures. The Presidency of Meteorology and Environment
has issued a guidance document which is intended to be the foundation for the development of best
environmental practices in relation to waste recovery and recycling. Although the document does not
have a direct impact on industries, since it is based on the internationally recognized waste
management hierarchy including prevention, recycling, treatment, and disposal, it might serve as the
basis for the adoption of future provisions impacting all industry sectors. The Environmental
Standards on Material Recovery and Recycling of Waste became effective March 24, 2012.

Biological Treatment Standard of 2012

Biological treatment and incineration facilities must comply with a series of new requirements relating
to the design, location, operation, and closure of such facilities. The Biological Treatment Standard
provides requirements related to the treatment and disposal of biodegradable waste. The
requirements apply to the pre-development of a new biological treatment facility that receives and
handles biodegradable waste. However, operators of existing facilities must implement the
requirements wherever and whenever that is feasible. The Standard on Biological Treatment sets
forth the design parameters and operational requirements for biological treatment facilities in Saudi
Arabia. The Standard applies to privately operated as well as publicly operated biological treatment
facilities. The Standard does not apply, however, to domestic biological processes such as home
composting initiatives undertaken by householders at their places of residence.

Saudi Arabia is one of the leading countries in the Middle East region, and many developing
countries are following in its steps. The fact that it has adopted this abundant number of regulations
indicates that it is getting ready to take its environmental issues more seriously. Companies should
be on the lookout for a more stringent enforcement system and, more importantly, use the guidance
issued to prepare an internal policy that can be the basis for a compliance program to be ready by
the time the mandatory requirements take effect.

About the Author

Sanaa Chakibi is a lead regulatory consultant in the Washington, D.C., U.S.A. office of Enhesa,
Inc., where she specializes in the Middle East and North Africa regions. Ms. Chakibi monitors
environmental, health, and safety regulatory developments throughout the Middle East and North
Africa. She has written audit protocols for several countries in this area. She holds a Masters degree
from the George Washington Law School, a Bachelor in Private Law (Licence en Droit Prive) from
the Hassan II University in Casablanca, Morocco, and is a member of the District of Columbia Bar

Other EHS Journal Articles by Sanaa Chakibi

Saudi Arabia: Ambient Water Quality Standards

Photograph: Jeddah Old Downtown by Asif Akbar, Hungary.

Return to the EHS Journal Home Page

Tags: air pollution, Ambient Water Quality Standards, biological treatment, Environmental,
environmental laws, noise, recycling, Saudi Arabia, sustainability, waste

13 Comments to Saudi Arabia Releases 9 New

Environmental Laws
1. Law says:
January 30, 2017 at 11:52 pm

[] (Company in KSA for recycling)

chakibi/saudi-arabia-9-new-environmental-laws/2013/(New Environmental Law In Saudi)

Faleh says:
2. September 26, 2016 at 1:47 am

could you please provide me with AMBIENT AIR STANDARD of Saudi Arabia,
unable to down load from PME site.


Mohammad Irshad says:

3. May 18, 2015 at 3:29 am

Saudi government must introduce more people to use moped ,bike in place of using Car for
going office in city area to reduce the pollution and heavy traffic

Mohammad Irshad says:

4. May 18, 2015 at 3:26 am
Saudi government must introduce more people to use moped ,bike in place of using Car in city
area to reduce the pollution

Stefanos Manolis says:

5. January 20, 2015 at 3:08 am

I am in the country since 4-10-2014 working in a constructing Co I may reassure you that some
environmental issues are implemented whereas others are not. For example air pollution is one
of the issues that needs special care and the risks for human health are huge. Saudi Arabia by
its own produces dust due to its desert conditions. The Government has to be more strict in the
implementation of relevant environmental rules and oblige all constructing companies to follow
to issues like the distance between a site and a Camp or a crasher and a Camp. There could
be also a kind of regulation for the circulation of so many cars in the big centers like Riyadh.
For example one day the circulation might be for cars ending with odd number and the other
day with even number and so forth.

Kind Regards,
Stefanos Manolis

6. Heat Stress and Ramadan - EHS Journal says:

June 21, 2014 at 9:16 am

[] Saudi Arabia Releases 9 New Environmental Laws []

Arsahd Hussain Memon says:

7. June 12, 2014 at 11:58 am

Excellent work done !

Saqlain Haider says:

8. June 25, 2013 at 7:50 am

Really the time has come to regulate our life style and fragile approach to restore and sustain
the ecological environment from degradation for the betterment of ourselves and generation to
come. In this direction all the countries making their laws and enforcing them. KSA government
is also concern with the environment protection and made their laws easier and sufficient for
the industries and all the concerned.

King Regards,

Saqlain Haider

Hamed says:
9. March 5, 2013 at 6:52 am

PME is doing the best of issuing and following up implementation of such important regulations
to protect people and environment in Saudi Arabia.

Mohamed Sarifdeen Rakeeb says:

10. February 27, 2013 at 2:05 am
This is a good move taken by the Government of Saudi in relation with keeping the
environment fresh for present and future generation. The waste management practices should
commence from the school curriculum which will easily be adopted by children rather than
adults. Further, when issuing license for companies, it is preferable to ask the owners to
manage their waste on their own with complying with all environmental regulations set out by
the government. Awareness on reuse, recycle and salvage of waste materials would reduce
the usage of virgin materials used for productions which will serve the natural resources for the
future generation..

Helal ali says:

11. February 17, 2013 at 5:02 pm

this the best environmental laws in the middle east .

Ronald S. says:
12. February 15, 2013 at 2:50 am

Is there any specific law or requirement to deal with the carbon sludge generated in the
process of re-refining of Used Engine Oils. This sludge is generated after the chemical pre-
treatment of the Used Engine Oil to remove the carbon. Also, can you please let me know the
method of disposal for such sludge and used bleaching clay.

Kind regards,
Ronald Sanfrancis

13. Significant new environmental laws in Saudi Arabia many ME countries may follow
suit The Enhesa Blog says:
February 4, 2013 at 3:33 pm

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