It is a very difficult task for the government of Saudi Arabia to tackle the waste issue. Most of the waste generated in Riyadh—the capital of Saudi Arabia which has a population of eight million—has been carried, for a long period of years, to the landfill site in a vast desert which is about one-hour drive from Riyadh. However, according to the explanation of the government officials who attended me, the government’s waste management policy has shifted from landfill to disposal, and this landfill site will eventually be reduced and the rest of the site will be greened and turned into a park in the future.
It seemed to me that the government was taking every necessary measure to improve the waste issue in close cooperation with regional municipal offices. After the final explanation by a responsible officer, I expressed my empathy and understanding to the government officials concerned with the landfill site, and ended my speech hoping that we would promote further cooperation in various activities between the two countries.
After I came back to Riyadh, I met with Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources, and other officials. We had extensive discussions on the themes of the G20 Summit which will be held in Saudi Arabia next year. The visit to Saudi Arabia was very fruitful.