The Meteorology and Environmental Protection Agency (MEPA) reported today on the success of the ongoing research by a joint team of Saudi and Japanese experts on the quality of the waters in the Arabian Gulf. The team includes environmentalists from the Japanese International Cooperation Agency as well as the Overseas Environment Center cosponsored by MEPA and Japan.
The project, which began in February 1999, is now in its third phase, and has to date completed collection of water samples, including some from the area to the north of Jubail and south of Qur'ayyah where there is a considerable amount of tourism as well as intensive industrial activity. The fourth phase will begin in spring of 2000, and the findings will be published by the end of that year.
Meanwhile, the Japanese agency has reported that the waters of the Red Sea are amazingly clear, giver that it is surrounded by deserts with no permanent rivers. There is considerable biological diversity, with coral reefs, sea-grass beds, and mangrove thickets. The Red Sea corals, although only about six or seven thousand years old, harbor a remarkable diversity of life, and often serve as a refuge for seabirds and turtles.