Saudi Falcon club concludes migratory bird day celebrations

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The Saudi Falcons Club (SFC) concluded a two-day “World Migratory Bird Day and the impact on plastic on birds” forum on Monday. (Supplied)
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The Saudi Falcons Club (SFC) concluded a two-day “World Migratory Bird Day and the impact on plastic on birds” forum on Monday. (Supplied)
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The Saudi Falcons Club (SFC) concluded a two-day “World Migratory Bird Day and the impact on plastic on birds” forum on Monday. (Supplied)
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The Saudi Falcons Club (SFC) concluded a two-day “World Migratory Bird Day and the impact on plastic on birds” forum on Monday. (Supplied)
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The Saudi Falcons Club (SFC) concluded a two-day “World Migratory Bird Day and the impact on plastic on birds” forum on Monday. (Supplied)
Updated 13 May 2019
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Saudi Falcon club concludes migratory bird day celebrations

  • SFC’s participation in organizing this event came after its registration at global events agenda
  • The prorgam was an awareness exhibition organized by SFC at Riyadh Park Complex

RIYADH: The Saudi Falcons Club (SFC) concluded a two-day “World Migratory Bird Day and the impact on plastic on birds” forum on Monday.
The prorgam was an awareness exhibition organized by SFC at Riyadh Park Complex in the Saudi capital to put the spotlight on the impact of plastic pollution on migratory birds and their habitats which coincided with World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) , in which 53 countries around the world organized 300 awareness and cultural events.
SFC’s participation in organizing this event came after its registration at global events agenda concerned with WMBD, which is supervised by United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).
The exhibition included a set of pictures showing migratory birds flights and the danger of plastic pollution on them to stress the need and action against excessive, unnecessary use and detrimental disposal of plastic.
Falcons are part of the migratory birds and are impacted directly by plastic in the environment which obstructs their movements — shown in the exhibition.
Secondary Microplastic, which poisons the land and resources, affects all kinds of migratory birds and the source of food for migratory falcons crossing Saudi Arabia.
SFC aims to raise community awareness about the importance of migratory birds and their role in the ecosystem and be responsible to by reducing plastic usage.
The exhibition was attended by a large number of public visitors and falcon enthusiasts and children who interacted with the exhibition, in particular the signature board on support of minimizing plastic usage.


Saudi Arabia’s Cabinet approves new tobacco license regulation

Updated 37 min 10 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia’s Cabinet approves new tobacco license regulation

  • Annual license will cost more than $26,000
  • New measure could lead to more vaping, says expert

JEDDAH: Cafes and restaurants in Saudi Arabia will have to pay up to SR100,000 ($26,675) a year to sell tobacco products inside and outside their premises, after the Cabinet approved a new licensing regulation.

Saudi Arabia was one of the first countries to ratify the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in 2005, an ambitious plan to reduce smoking rates from 12.7 percent to 5 percent by 2030.

The Health Ministry has taken steps to curb smoking through awareness campaigns and cessation clinics. Taxes on cigarettes doubled in 2017, leading to a 213 percent increase in smokers seeking help to kick the habit in the months that followed.

Saudi restaurant owner Hassan Moriah supported the Cabinet decision, although he said customers would be hit the hardest.

“Every restaurant and café manager should be licensed to provide this service. I believe all restaurants and cafés will support this decision too, but I believe the only people who will be affected by this decision are the customers,” he told Arab News. “All outlets will raise the price of hookahs. The actual people who would be paying for it to reach SR100,000 are the customers and not the cafés. Yes, there will be people who cannot afford to pay the new prices and they may have to cut down on their hookah consumption.”

The new regulation would also affect places that were not so popular, he added.

Associate professor of history at Middle Tennessee State University Dr. Sean Foley, who is writing a book on smoking in Saudi Arabia and the wider Muslim world, said the new law was part of the Kingdom’s attempts to address a serious health crisis while also meeting a goal of the Vision 2030 reform plan to move away from non-oil revenues.

“While raising cigarette taxes is a proven strategy for reducing smoking, the new SR100,000 annual fee for Saudi restaurants to permit patrons to smoke may be even more important,” he told Arab News. “Many restaurants may not be able to afford to pay for such an expensive permit, so there is likely to be less smoking in restaurants. That would mean there will be fewer people exposed to second-hand smoke in restaurants, itself a serious problem, and existing smokers would have a powerful new incentive to quit. Studies have consistently shown that creating smoke-free areas is one of the most powerful tools to motivate and help existing tobacco users to quit while preventing new smokers from picking up the habit.”

"The academic, who has written "Changing Saudi Arabia: Art, Culture, and Society in the Kingdom" published this year, said the Kingdom had some of the highest smoking rates in the world.

He added that the problem was getting worse as the number of smokers in Saudi Arabia was expected to rise from six million to 10 million in the coming years.

He warned that while there was the danger of a rise in smuggling and other black-market activities — because of the higher costs associated with smoking — there were other challenges too.

“The real danger is not the rise in black-market activity but that Saudis will continue to switch in large numbers to a product that is currently legal to use — vaping. While purchasing any of the products associated with vaping is illegal in the Kingdom, it is legal to vape in public and many Saudis buy vape juice and vape modules online.”