Fertility rate of Saudis declining, claims report


Saudi Gazette report

– Population structure in the Kingdom has shown a decline in fertility rate of Saudis with the Kingdom’s total population including expatriates is expected to reach 33.54 million in 2020 and 38.5 million in 2030. Statistics have showed that population stood at 32.28 million by 2016.

This was revealed by the General Authority of Meteorology and Environmental Protection (GAMEP) in a report, a copy of which was obtained by Al-Hayat Arabic newspaper. “Population growth is one of the factors that creates developmental and environmental issues,” the authority said.

It also puts pressure on natural resources and investment and increases demand on water, land, food and energy, thus leading to increased production of waste and other pollutants.

It worsens the condition of coastal areas and marine environmental systems. Moreover the increase in per capita revenue leads to greater consumption of water, food, energy and technology.

The authority said modern studies have shown that population rate of major Saudi cities reached 77% and the figure is expected to cross 88% by 2025. There is big difference in population of villages, townships and big cities in the Kingdom with 15.3 persons in every one sq. km.

The population is concentrated in three main cities with Riyadh holding 25 percent, Makkah region 25.5 percent and the Eastern Province 15.1 percent, the report said, adding that the rest of the population is distributed in other parts of the country.

The report referred to the pressure on land by various types of pollutants, especially in coastal areas. It stressed the need to put standards and specifications for sewage in coastal environment and for quality of water in coastal areas. All dumping areas should be monitored closely, it added.

Speaking about climate change, the report said it’s caused by increase in temperature, frequent cycle of drought and decline in rainfalls. Agricultural sustainability can be achieved by selecting better seeds that can withstand drought, adopting agricultural methods that reduce dependence on water and expanding areas of natural forests, GAMEP explained.

“We also need an integrated management of coastal areas to reduce danger of climate change,” it said and referred to human interference in forests leading to the extinction of some important trees. Lack of water is the main reason for the poor condition of forests.

“Some people have turned forests into resorts. This has led to cutting trees and disappearance of animals,” the report pointed out. The GAMEP emphasized the need to protect forests by appointing guards and setting out special units that can provide basic information about forests.

The report stressed the need for keeping a balance between the requirements of food security, achieving self sufficiency of strategic goods and ensuring protection of water resources and environment.