The unnerving cars on our streets

THE car noise, the traffic congestion and the narrow streets being blocked by the protracting development projects are playing on our nerves.

The unnerving cars on our streets


Abdo Khal




THE car noise, the traffic congestion and the narrow streets being blocked by the protracting development projects are playing on our nerves.

The large number of cars and the subsequent traffic jams have made us wary and hesitant to go anywhere in Jeddah even for short distances.

According to statistics issued by the end of 2010, there were 13 million cars in the Kingdom. The statistics said the number of cars would increase by 700,000 every year, a rise of 5.4 percent.

In simple figures the number of cars have increased by more than 5 million during the past five years to reach about 18 million vehicles.

When a country has 18 million cars, this means that the car market has been opened for everyone without any controls.

No studies or research were conducted to indicate the adverse effect of the large number of cars on social life.

These cars are only a means of transport. The national economy is not getting an added value from them. On the contrary, they create a number of problems for society and the country.

The cars cause traffic bottlenecks, deaths and injuries due to accidents, environmental pollution, damage to basic infrastructure and suck the finances of the local markets to cover the maintenance and upkeep of the cars.

So the vehicles are not only dissipating the country's financial resources but are also creating a number of social problems for it.

Despite all the huge amounts of money we spend on cars, it is a pity that we do not manufacture or assemble these cars in the local market.

We import them from outside together with their accessories and spare parts. Therefore, a recognizable amount of the government budget is spent on the car imports.

This exerts pressure on the trade balance, making it shift in favor of the car exporting countries. The car dealers are left on their own to do what they want to do with this market.

They can inject many cars in the market without being told to stop. The dealers are not also asked to make the country a partner in this industry.

This can be realized when the country is able to manufacture some components of the car or some of its spare parts.

The dealers did not bother to make the Kingdom a car-manufacturing country. They did not take the initiative to enable the Kingdom to produce its own car.

They have vested interests in keeping the Kingdom a car consuming country always. The Ministry of Commerce and Industry is completely absent from the scene in this respect.

It has left the arena for the dealers to do whatever they want to do. The result is that car imports are much higher than the number of our children and may soon go above the number of our population.

We have been unfortunate in the world of cars. We cannot manufacture them and at the same time we cannot reduce their number on our streets.

A large number of unused cars have been dumped along the streets and in the empty areas inside the neighborhoods.

Thanks to the abandoned cars, we have slowly developed a huge junkyard of iron and steel from which we have no respite.

If only the municipality or the traffic police would take the initiative to rid us of the car junkyards, this would be very appreciated.

I can supply the two of them with the names of the streets that are replete with scrap vehicles. My only fear is that the municipality and the traffic police will be exchanging blame and dumping the responsibility on each other while our streets are getting filled with the old cars.

The streets are also suffocated by the moving and dumped cars. If we have recycling plants we would have used the millions of tons of scrap metal on the streets.

But as long as we do not have plants that can use the iron and steel of the old cars, we only have to appeal to the municipality and the traffic police to clean our streets of the old cars.