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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - RIYADH: Work is underway to plant 50,000 trees and shrubs in Al-Nakheel neighborhood as part of the Green Riyadh Project.
The trees will be planted in areas close to four schools, 30 mosques and 14 parking lots, as well as along 52 km of roads. The scheme will also include the construction of 17 parks.
“The design of the urban greening project in the Al-Nakheel neighborhood took about a year and the implementation will take 30 months,” said Turki Bin Oudah, deputy executive director of the Green Riyadh Project.
The trees and shrubs being planted include several varieties of acacia, including the mulga, desert oak and salt wattle, and the Balanites aegyptiaca, or Egyptian balsam, all of which are well suited to the city’s high temperatures.
“The types of trees planted will depend on the area,” said Abdulaziz Al-Moqbel, another of the project's directors.
“For schools, trees that have spikes will be avoided and overall, the main focus is to plant trees that provide the most shade.”
An exhibition about the greening project, including the time scale for the planting operation, opened in Al-Nakheel on Thursday and will run until Oct. 14. It includes a space for children to learn about the importance of planting trees and the role they can play in planting events across the city.
The Green Riyadh Project is expected to have several benefits, including improving air quality, reducing temperatures by up to 2 degrees Celsius and promoting biological diversity.
It will also provide investment and job opportunities, while strengthening community bonds and encouraging people to engage in more outdoor activities and exercise.
Besides the planting of 7.5 million trees, once completed the project will result in a 17-fold increase in the amount of green space available per citizen.
The Green Riyadh Project is one of four megaprojects launched by the Kingdom in 2019 to help achieve the goals of the Saudi Green Initiative and Vision 2030.
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