State of Israel Ministry of the Environment

ENVIRONMENT BULLETIN
Ministry of the Environment

March
volume 27

2004

Cover photo: Avraham Matiash

Environmental Achievements: 2003

6

With a Face to the Public

32

www.environment.gov.il

content
Dear Reader:
From our Director General, Dr. Miriam Haran
In a special end-of-the-year interview, Director General Dr. Miriam Haran reflects on the ministry's achievements in 2003.

Treating Construction and Demolition Waste
A government decision paves the way for new solutions to the problem of construction and demolition waste, the largest fraction of solid waste in the country.

3 6 10 14 18 22 24 26 29 32

Volume 27 of Israel Environment Bulletin introduces a new format for the Bulletin. We hope that this new design, accompanied by our continuing coverage of developments in Israeli environmental policy, will afford our readers a new measure of interest in the environment in Israel. The current volume of the Bulletin focuses on the ministry's goals and achievements for 2003. These overall goals relate to six central components of the ministry's work: municipal and industrial waste treatment, water pollution prevention and river restoration, pollution reduction from transportation and industrial sources, treatment of life-threatening hotspots, the environment as a catalyst for economic growth and national interests and improvement of the urban environment and preservation of open spaces. While lack of space prevents us from surveying all of our achievements, we have chosen to focus on one specific objective within each overall goal in order to provide our readers with a glimpse of the challenges and opportunities facing Israel at this junction. We are also pleased to inform our readers that our updated English website - www.environment.gov.il/english - is now online. This interactive website features an e-bulletin, devoted to a different subject each month, along with updated infor mation on environmental topics, breaking news items and much more. We do hope that you will subscribe to this free e-bulletin online. At the same time, Israel Environment Bulletin, which will now be published twice a year, will continue to bring you special features on environmental developments in Israel.

International Prize to the Alexander River Restoration Project
The interdisciplinary approach adopted in this river restoration effort earns the Alexander River Restoration Project first prize in an international competition.

Cleaning Up Israel's Air: Focusing on Vehicle Pollution
The preparation of an action plan on the reduction of pollution from transportation sources may allow Israelis to breathe easier.

Toward Remediation of Ramat Hovav
Despite major improvements at Ramat Hovav, remediation is imperative in order to transform the site into a modern site for the treatment of hazardous waste.

Government Approves Sustainable Development Plan
Steps are now being taken to translate a May 2003 government decision on sustainable development into a reality.

Environmental Considerations in Municipal Elections
The results of a survey, undertaken last summer, underline the importance of environmental issues to residents of cities throughout Israel.

International Cooperation
Mr. Lucien Chabason, outgoing Coordinator of the Mediterranean Action Plan, shares his thoughts.

Environmental Legislation
Israel promulgates new regulations on a variety of subjects.

With a Face to the Public
The Ministry of the Environment compounds its efforts to promote environmental awareness and public participation.

Shoshana Gabbay Editor
Inquiries should be addressed to: Israel Environment Bulletin P.O.B. 34033, Jerusalem 95464, Israel Telephone: 972-2-6553777, Fax: 972-2-6535934 http://www.environment.gov.il/english E-mail: shoshana@environment.gov.il Prof. Yehudith Naot, Minister of the Environment Dr. Miriam Haran, Director General

Cover photo: Avraham Matiash, First Prize, Fifth Photography Competition on Nature and Environment, founded by the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel and the magazine "Eretz v' Teva" in cooperation with the Ministries of Environment and Tourism.  Small photos: Ministry of the Environment, Eyal Yaffe, Motti Sela Design: Studio Billet

2

Director General, Ministry of the Environment
In recent years, the Ministry of the Environment has set specific goals for achievement. How are these goals determined? Our country is small in size, dense in population, and plagued by water and land scarcity. Under these conditions, we had to formulate goals, objectives and milestones for implementation that would allow Israel to continue to develop in a sustainable manner, to provide a good quality of life and the environment to its population, to preserve and improve its scarce natural resources, and to safeguard the health of its residents. It is an integral part of our policy to reevaluate and update each year’s goals on the basis of developments in Israel and worldwide. This year we took special note of the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development and, therefore, in setting our goals for 2004, we oriented ourselves to sustainable development principles. My previous experience in the Ministry of the Environment, both as Chief Scientist and as Deputy Director General for Industries, has given me a Can you point to examples, from our action plan, which incorporate social and economic components in addition to environmental aspects?

Interview: Dr. Miriam Haran
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There are numerous examples. Such objectives as improving the quality of the environment in urban centers, preserving open spaces, assuring open access to the coastline while preventing private development along the shoreline, promoting public transportation ≠ all illustrate our growing concern for social issues. Similarly, our opposition to the establishment of another coal-fired power plant and our proposed landfill and hazardous waste fees take account of economic considerations. We have managed to show that the external costs of air pollution and landfilling, for example, are very costly to the economy. In these and other cases, we then forwarded alternatives that promise to be more beneficial for the economy, the environment and the society.

Preserving open space is a critical issue

broad vision of policy issues. As Director General, I am committed to fostering continuous dialogue and cooperation among all departments of the ministry in order to promote integration, monitor achievements and shortfallings, and guide our efforts toward the fulfillment of our goals. Yet our responsibility also extends to the public at large, to the private sector and to other government bodies. We are doing our utmost to bring this future-oriented vision of sustainability to all of these sectors through dialogue, cooperation and guidance.
Photos: Motti Sela, Eyal Yaffe

Were the goals and objectives for 2003 achieved? For the most part, we were able to fulfill many of our goals to some degree — sometimes more, sometimes less. Many of our setbacks or disappointments were due to dependence on other bodies or legislative processes. For example, in the area of waste treatment, we succeeded in closing the last of Israel’s large unregulated landfills, in Retamim in northern Ashdod. At the same time, we prepared action plans for other components of our waste stream, namely, construction and demolition waste and waste tires.

3

From Dr. Miriam Haran

Agricultural fields. Photo: Motti Sela

We are doing our utmost to bring this future-oriented vision of sustainability to all sectors through dialogue, cooperation and guidance

As for water pollution prevention and river restoration, we succeeded in helping to stop some of the sewage which was previously discharged to our rivers. While the Treasury recognizes the importance of upgrading Israel’s wastewater treatment plants to provide higher treatment levels, budgetary constraints have delayed progress. Therefore, we are now prioritizing the list of Israel’s wastewater treatment plants in the hope that at least those plants which are situated in hydrologically sensitive areas will be eligible for upgrading in the near future. A major achievement relates to treating Israel’s life-threatening pollution hotspots - Ramat Hovav in the south of the country and Haifa Bay and the Kishon River in the north. Each plant in the Ramat Hovav industrial area will now be required to treat its own wastewater in order to reduce the biological load and conform to stricter effluent standards. Similarly in Haifa Bay and the Kishon River, industrial plants are implementing the conditions of waste discharge permits under our strict supervision. There are other successes as well: the government unanimously approved our proposal to prepare a strategic plan for sustainable development, diesel fuel with a sulfur content exceeding 50

ppm sulfur is no longer available in our gas stations, the government approved plans for a wind farm in the north of Israel, our Protection of the Coastal Environment Bill has been advanced, our program for minimizing hazardous waste through financial assistance has yielded positive results, we have signed a contract for the development of an air resources management system, and much more. Along with other government ministries, the Ministry of the Environment is facing major budgetary cutbacks in 2004. Can anything be done to improve the quality of the environment while contributing to the economy? I am a fir m believer in the potential of environmental technologies. The global market in this area is growing fast and already exceeds $500 billion, excluding the energy market. Israel has much to contribute — in such diverse fields as utilization and management of water sources, wastewater reuse, combating desertification and solar energy. What is required is a two-pronged approach. First, we must continue to enact and strictly enforce environmental laws in Israel while making stakeholders understand the role of

environmental technologies in environmental compliance. Second, we must convince the relevant authorities that the environmental technologies market holds tremendous economic potential. To my mind, there is a direct correlation between sustainable development and environmental technologies. We have much to gain, environmentally, economically and socially, by developing this market. What is your vision for the long-term? I would like to see our goals implemented in the spirit of sustainable development. We now realize, for example, that the preservation of open space is a critical issue in a densely populated country such as Israel which lacks a continuity of open space. There are still those in this country who equate economic growth with accelerated building and

My dream is to increase our water supply without pumping water from Lake Kinneret so that its waters may once again flow into the Jordan River and the Dead Sea. This may help us avert the impending crisis in the Dead Sea whose steadily declining water level is already threatening the ecosystem, infrastructure and tourism potential of this globally unique area. And of course, we will continue to address problems such as waste and air pollution, which impact not only on our quality of life but on life itself. About two-thirds of the staffers at the Ministry of the Environment are women. Prof. Yehudith Naot is the third woman to hold the position of Minister of the Environment and you are the second woman to be appointed director general. Would you like to relate to this phenomenon? It is an honor and an achievement that we have so many highly educated women holding high

The environmental technologies market holds tremendous economic potential

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development ≠ anywhere and everywhere. Our challenge is to convince all relevant bodies, public as well as private, that the loss of open space to building and development is an irreversible process. For this purpose, we are advocating a policy which calls for strengthening our existing cities and preserving the continuity of open space throughout the country. Another central problem relates to the quantity and quality of our water resources. We must increase our water inventory both for our own population and for the sake of the entire region, where populations continue to grow and water sources may dwindle due to climate change. For this purpose, we have assessed the economic costs of increasing our water supply - treating some 500 cubic meters of wastewater to a level enabling unrestricted irrigation, desalinating seawater and saline water, and treating water wells which were contaminated by industry.

positions in the ministry, not only the minister and director general, but also deputy director generals and directors of different departments. Perhaps women are drawn to environmental issues because they are eager to make a contribution, to work toward a most just society which offers all residents a better quality of life ≠ not only today but tomorrow as well. Yet it is important for me to say that all of our staffers, men and women alike, are motivated by dedication and professionalism. They are our greatest assets. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank our Environment Minister, Prof. Yehudith Naot, for choosing me for this position — hopefully not only because I am a woman, but also based on my education and professional experience. I hope these will stand me well in helping to fulfill the diverse goals of the Ministry of the Environment.

Photos: Motti Sela, Eyal Yaffe

Treating municipal and industrial waste

Treating municipal and industrial waste

Preventing water pollution and restoring rivers

Treating Construction Demolition Waste
he Ministry of the Environment is determined to rid the country of unsightly heaps of construction and demolition waste and to transform this waste from nuisance to resource

&

Reducing air pollution from transportation and industrial sources

Treating lifethreatening hotspots

Catalyzing economic growth and national interests

Accelerated construction, development and road building in Israel leave significant quantities of construction and demolition waste in their wake. This waste all too frequently finds its way to open spaces and roadsides throughout the country. In addition to landscape blight, improper disposal of construction waste is responsible for a host of environmental and health nuisances including groundwater contamination, air pollution in case of fires, and lowered property values. Construction and demolition waste constitutes the largest fraction in the total waste generated by the country. Some 7.5 million tons of construction waste are generated in Israel each year - some 140% more than the total quantity of household waste which is produced in this country. Yet only 11 authorized sites for dry waste exist in Israel, and only one million tons reach these designated sites (about 14%). Such a small number of sites, most of them situated far away from the source of the waste, cannot possibly absorb the huge quantities of waste which are generated each year.

Improving the urban environment and preserving open spaces

Moving from Pessimism to Optimism
Until recently, the situation appeared hopeless. Only a handful of recycling and landfill sites for construction waste existed in Israel, there was no municipal collection and transport system capable of handling this waste, there were no uniform standards in local authorities for the treatment of dry waste, there was no mechanism for determining

Dry waste dumped in Hadera Photo: Solid Waste Division

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Government Resolution on Construction and Demolition Waste: Highlights
• Establishment and operation of transfer stations for bulky waste in local authorities. • Establishment of authorized landfill sites for dry waste. • Establishment of shredding and recycling infrastructures for construction and demolition waste. • Development of reuse technologies for construction waste and recycled waste. • Cleanup and rehabilitation of polluted open areas. • Operation of a national enforcement and inspection system. • Advancement of municipal bylaws on construction and demolition waste. • Financial aid to local authorities for the establishment of recycling infrastructures and transfer stations and to private entrepreneurs for recycling projects. • Allocation of NIS 54 million for a threeyear period to finance these activities.

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waste quantities for the purpose of granting building permits, there was no budget to clean up and rehabilitate open areas, and the Ministry of the Environment did not have adequate resources to undertake enforcement, on the one hand, and to aid local authorities in solving the problem, on the other hand. Today, there is reason for optimism. The influx of funds for the sole purpose of solving the problem, catalyzed by a government decision, may prove a landmark in Israel’s treatment of its construction and demolition waste. The goal: to regulate the disposal and treatment of this waste, prevent the pollution of open spaces, and rehabilitate disturbed areas - all within a three-year period.

Some 7.5 million tons of construction waste are generated in Israel each year

Government Resolution on Construction and Demolition Waste
To help address the problem, the Israel government resolved, in a February 2003 decision, to undertake a variety of measures, on both the local and national fronts. Specifically, it called "on the Minister of the Environment to regulate the treatment of construction and demolition waste throughout Israel within three years, and no later than the end of 2005, in order to clean up areas polluted by construction waste."

Treating municipal and industrial waste

Treating municipal and industrial waste

From Plan to Action
To help solve the problem and to implement the government decision, the Ministry of the Environment has formulated a two-phase plan for the disposal and treatment of construction and demolition waste: stopping the illegal disposal of this waste and assuring that it reaches authorized sites, in the first phase, and advancing alternatives to landfilling, including recycling and reuse, in the second phase. To translate plan into action, numerous steps have already been initiated. Tenders for the establishment of disposal sites for construction and demolition waste are being prepared, cleanup and rehabilitation of some sites has been initiated, cleanup of open spaces in which construction and demolition waste has been dumped has begun, several companies are providing shredding and crushing services for this waste, and numerous local authorities have begun to incorporate conditions in their tenders

Illegal construction waste dump in Or Akiva, which was subsequently cleaned up by order of the Ministry of the Environment Photo: Yossi Bar

Preventing water pollution and restoring rivers

Reducing air pollution from transportation and industrial sources

Treating lifethreatening hotspots

SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT - 1993-2003
Catalyzing economic growth and national interests

•All of Israel’s major dump sites (77 out of 77) were closed. •Seven medium to large landfills are being built or upgraded. •Recycling has gone up from 3% to 20%. •More than 75% of the waste is disposed in controlled sites. •107 local authorities (50% of the population) have received a subsidy of over $80 million for closing large dumps and transporting their wastes to state-of-the-art landfills.

Improving the urban environment and preserving open spaces

Reduction of Illegal Waste Sites - 1993-2003
90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0
1992 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003

77

76

74

41

27

number of sites

9 6 3 2 2 1

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GIL YANIV ON CONSTRUCTION AND DEMOLITION WASTE
Deputy Director General for Infrastructure

Over the past ten years we managed to solve our municipal waste problem. The time has now come to deal with an even greater problem - construction and demolition waste. This is a problem of huge proportions involving quantities one and a half times greater than municipal waste. Unlike municipal waste, which may be transported over wide distances to peripheral areas, long-range transport is not an option for bulk wastes. The biggest problem lies in the central region of the country where disposal sites for building debris simply do not exist although a large portion of the country’s construction waste is generated there. A survey, which we recently conducted, showed that even if all abandoned quarries in the Tel Aviv and central districts were made available for this waste, they would be filled up within two years. We, along with the Israel Lands Administration, are therefore examining the option of disposal in operating quarries in the region. In parallel, I am glad to say that a tender has been issued for the recycling and crushing of construction and demolition waste at the Hiriya recycling site. Future months should see the sorting of this waste at the site - with recyclable components going for recycling and the rest being used to help moderate the slope of the 80-meter high former landfill, which was closed down in 1998, and is now destined for rehabilitation as part of a larger project for the Ayalon metropolitan park. We are encouraging recycling and crushing in order to prevent environmental degradation and to transform dry waste from nuisance to resource - whether as a substrate for roads or for reuse in the construction sector with associated components going to recycling. We are working with every possible stakeholder - the Israel Lands Administration, local authorities, planning committees - to ensure strict control and enforcement at every stage. On our part, we expect to reinforce our inspection and enforcement capabilities with the addition of much needed manpower, including dedicated inspectors of the Green Police who will launch regional enforcement campaigns, undertake surveillance and conduct investigations. I would like to believe that this new initiative will match our success in closing down all of the country’s major dumps and replacing them with state-of-the-art landfills. 2004 should see a real breakthrough.

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which mandate crushing following large-scale demolition projects. And last but not least, the Ministry of the Environment has called on local authorities to submit proposals for the establishment of solid waste infrastructures, including sites for the disposal or treatment of construction and demolition waste. Based on strict criteria, financial support (50% of the total cost) will be provided to the highest scoring projects. Hopefully the combination of government decision, action plan, funding, stakeholder cooperation and market forces will help rid the country of unsightly heaps of waste while providing environment-friendly disposal and recycling solutions to the complex problem of construction and demolition waste in Israel.

Preventing water pollution and restoring rivers

Treating municipal and industrial waste

Preventing water pollution and restoring rivers

International Prize To The Alexander River Restoration Project
prestigious international prize reinforces Israel's commitment to river restoration
The restoration project for the Alexander River, which flows some 32 kilometers from the Palestinian city of Nablus in the Samarian Hills to the Mediterranean Sea north of Netanya, was initiated in 1995 with the establishment of the Alexander River Restoration Administration. In 2003, the Alexander River Restoration Project was awarded one of the world's most prestigious international prizes for excellence in river management - the Thiess International Riverprize. How to stop the pollution which has plagued the river for over 50 years and transform it into a river of life? For the past eight years, the Alexander River Restoration Administration, a twenty-member voluntary body headed by the Ministry of the Environment, the Jewish National Fund, the Emek Hefer Regional Council, the Sharon Drainage Authority and the Israel Government Tourism Company, has grappled with just this question. As the body charged with planning, implementation, management and maintenance
tons/year 25,000
22,852

Reducing air pollution from transportation and industrial sources

of the Alexander River within the context of its 550 km2 river basin, the Administration has opted for a comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach. Public participation is paramount in this approach. Both children and adults are deeply involved in all levels of activity, and all activities are conducted under the slogan "Returning the River to the People."

From Dream to Reality
The project addresses a wide variety of restoration issues, including water supply, removal of pollutants, development of river parks, ecological rehabilitation, public involvement, education, drainage and flood defense. To date, about $12.5 million have been invested in the project, most of it by the Ministry of the Environment and the Jewish National Fund. Following are some of the achievements: • Completion of a masterplan which has generated many related projects. • Removal of the main sources of pollution including the sewage of Netanya and Kfar Yona and, to a lesser degree, the Nablus River sewage.

Treating lifethreatening hotspots

Catalyzing economic growth and national interests

Improving the urban environment and preserving open spaces

Annual Pollution Loads in Major Israel Streams

20,000

15,000
11,559 10,318

10,000

9,039 6,607 6,530 4,775

5,000

2,683

2,284

0
T.Organic Carbon Total Nitrogen Total Phosphorus

±ππ¥

≤∞∞∞

≤∞∞±

ISRAEL ENVIRONMENT BULLETIN.

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The Alexander River Restoration Project was awarded one of the world's most prestigious international prizes for excellence in river management

Alexander River

Photo: Eyal Yaffe

Preventing water pollution and restoring rivers

Treating municipal and industrial waste

tons/year
9,000 8,000 7,000
7806

Total Organic Carbon in Major Israeli Streams

2290 1985 1350

2040

3,000
846 1080

2404

Preventing water pollution and restoring rivers

6,000 5,000

3101

4,000

5827

983

1490 1490

2,000

850

1930 1856

Reducing air pollution from transportation and industrial sources

331 531

419 191 336

350 544 482

1,000 0

320 732 741

552 626 730

192 75 35

Soreq

Kishon

Harod Hadera

Besor

Alexander

Yarkon Taninim Na’aman Ayalon

Poleg

Lachish

±ππ¥

≤∞∞∞

≤∞∞±

Treating lifethreatening hotspots

Catalyzing economic growth and national interests

Improving the urban environment and preserving open spaces

• A demonstration project involving the scenic, visual, ecological and drainage restoration of a 750 m section. • Development of seven river parks and river paths (pedestrian as well as bicycle) along different parts of the river. • Planting of more than 10,000 trees along river stretches. • Flood defense and drainage works using environmentally friendly methods. • Specific projects to protect the rare Nile softshell turtles, which may reach up to 120 cm in length and weigh up to 70 kg. • Rehabilitation of the natural ecosystem to encourage the return of aquatic species by the building of riffles and fish ladders, for example.

Ecology Knows No Borders
An important element in the decision to grant the prestigious prize to this particular restoration project was the cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians in cleaning up the river. While the ultimate objective is to establish a joint wastewater treatment plant for the Emek Hefer Regional Council (Israeli) and the Tul Karem District (Palestinian), an "Emergency Project" for the treatment of the Nablus River sewage was constructed as an interim solution. It is no wonder, therefore, that at the award ceremony, the project was hailed as a "unique bridge between the Israeli and Palestinian people, enabling cooperation on an ecological issue that knows no political borders, even during difficult times."

tons/year
5,000 4,500 4,000 3,500 3,000 2,500 2,000
935 4,669

Total Phosphorus in Major Israeli Streams

1,500
491 338 388

545

1,000 500 0

309 103 103

206 226 212

205 275 290

37 228 228

205 200 161

194 147 148

103 114 89

46 20 31

58 79 78

Soreq

Kishon

Harod Hadera

Besor

Alexander

Yarkon

Taninim Na’aman Ayalon

Poleg

Lachish

±ππ¥

≤∞∞∞

≤∞∞±

ISRAEL ENVIRONMENT BULLETIN.

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7 18 11

45 100 69

And More on River Restoration
Kishon River: The final seven kilometers of this 70-kilometer long river, which empties into the sea near Haifa, have long been plagued by heavy pollution from industrial effluents and municipal wastewater. Recent years have seen the transformation of this "dead" river into a river in which life exists at a limited scale. This transformation was largely due to the investment of major resources by the industrial plants and Haifa's municipal wastewater treatment plant. Yarkon River: This 28-kilometer long river flows through Tel Aviv. To improve the state of the river, a Yarkon River Authority was set up in 1988, a government decision called for the conservation of the river and its vicinity as the "green lung" of the Tel Aviv metropolitan area in 1996 and government approval of a restoration and development plan for the river followed in 2003, calling for the allocation of one million cubic meters a year of water to the Yarkon River, in the first stage. Harod River: The 35-kilometer long Harod River, whose watershed basin encompasses 190 km2, flows in the Jezreel and Beit She'an Valleys into the Jordan River. Domestic and industrial sewage discharge, agricultural drainage and discharge of fishpond waters have long hampered the inherent potential of the river for tourism development. The establishment of a regional river administration has resulted in the preparation of a comprehensive masterplan and in the establishment of riverside parks. Taninim River ("Crocodile River"): This coastal stream is the last relatively unpolluted coastal stream in Israel. A river administration for the 25kilometer long Taninim River was established in 1998. The masterplan for the river aims at preserving the river's ecosystem, on the one hand, and restoring and preserving the ancient water supply and transport system constructed by the Romans in the Caesarea area, on the other hand. Besor River: The Besor River is the longest of Israel's rivers flowing into the Mediterranean, with a watershed basin encompassing 3,700 square kilometers. Planning for restoration of the river was especially challenging due to the large physical area of the river basin, the absence of an available database, the presence of quarries and polluting industries, and the river's location in the arid southern part of Israel. The recently completed masterplan for this desert river is expected to serve as a model for the restoration of other southern rivers.

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Twelve coastal rivers and two rivers in the eastern basin are currently undergoing restoration

Photos Top to Bottom: Eyal Yaffe, Motti Sela, Yeshayahu Bar-Or, Eyal Yaffe, Moshe Milner (Government Press Office)

Reducing air pollution from transportation and industrial sources

Treating municipal and industrial waste

Preventing water pollution and restoring rivers

Reducing air pollution from transportation and industrial sources

Treating lifethreatening hotspots

Catalyzing economic growth and national interests

Improving the urban environment and preserving open spaces

Cleaning Up Israel's Air: Focusing On Vehicle Pollution
srael is intent on providing its population with a basic right: clean air
Vehicular pollution is a severe problem in Israel. The dramatic increase in the number of cars on Israel's congested roads - reaching about 2 million in 2003 (double the number just a decade ago) - has exacerbated the problem as has the composition of the vehicle fleet which includes diesel-powered buses and trucks. Monitoring results have shown that diesel-powered vehicles are responsible for most of the nitrogen oxides and particulates emissions (some 80% of the total vehicular emissions). Epidemiological surveys in Israel and worldwide have revealed that long-term exposure to even low levels of air pollution is associated with increased mortality (more than 1000 deaths per year) and morbidity (tens of thousands of cases of respiratory, cardio-vascular and circulatory disease). It is no wonder, then, that the Ministry of the Environment has put reduction of air pollution high on its list of priorities.

Working to Reduce Vehicular Pollution
Recent years have seen a flurry of activity to improve fuel quality, increase roadside inspection, enforce emission standards, and promote new technologies. Of special importance is a government decision, taken in December 2002, which calls for the preparation of an action plan on the reduction of pollution from the transportation sector. Today, the interministerial team, which was specifically set up to implement the government decision, is consolidating its final recommendations

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Motor Vehicles in Israel
1,617 1,675

1,800
1,373 1,459

1,600
1,176 1,261

1,400
1,015 1,075

1,543

1,730

1,831

2,000

1,915

1,960

1,200 1,000 800 600

thousands

400 200 0
1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002

Diesel-powered vehicles are responsible for most of the nitrogen oxides and particulates emissions

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Contribution of Different Sectors to Air Pollution Emissions
100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30%
22% 14% 25% 30% 5% 55% 31% 59% 1% 99% 70% 39% 38%

20% 10% 0%
5% 4% 1% 1% 1%

CO2
industry

CO
motor vehicles

SO2
space heating

NOX

SPM

electricity production

for government approval. Proposals include a wide variety of measures based on economic, legislative and technological steps to reduce vehicular emissions. Following are some examples: • Improving fuel quality for transportation; • Encouraging the scrapping of old vehicles; • Introducing updated and more stringent requirements in annual vehicle registration tests; • Restricting the movement of polluting vehicles in densely-populated polluted areas; • Introducing natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas for transportation use; • Promoting clean public transportation. While final recommendations for an action plan will only be finalized in the near future, several measures are already being implemented. These, along with the measures planned for the near future, are sure to make a real difference - allowing Israel's residents to breathe easier.

Source: Central Bureau of Statistics

Reducing air pollution from transportation and industrial sources

Treating municipal and industrial waste

NOx Annual Averages in Transportation Stations in Jerusalem 1999-2002
300
261

250
Preventing water pollution and restoring rivers

227 179 151

200 150
annual average (ppb)

100 50 0
1999 2000 Klal 2001 2002

101

94

Reducing air pollution from transportation and industrial sources

Bar-Ilan

NOx Half-Hour Exceedances in Transportation Stations in Jerusalem 2000-2002
Treating lifethreatening hotspots

no. of exceedances

Catalyzing economic growth and national interests

900 800 700 600 500 400 300 200 100 0
2000

834

284 190 132 71

Improving the urban environment and preserving open spaces

Klal 2001 2002

Bar-Ilan

Half-Hour Exceedances of NOx in Tel Aviv Area Transportation Stations 1998-2002
600 500
303 333 331 569

400 300
no. of exceedances 136

228

224

238

246

292 148 215

200
53 74 48

115

105 110

66

48

100 0

78 89

90

38

212

Amiel-Tel Aviv 1998 1999

Ironi D-Tel Aviv 2000 2001 2002

Ironi TZ-Tel Aviv

Tipat HalavTel Aviv

Remez-Bnei Brak

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What is being on today Restoration And More doneRiverto reduce emissions tomorrow?
• As of January 2004, gas stations no longer carry diesel fuel with a sulfur content above 50 ppm. • As of January 2004, leaded gasoline is no longer available in Israel. A new standard for gasoline substitutes a potassium-based additive for lead in 96-octane gasoline. • As of January 2004, the sulfur content of gas has been reduced from 1500 ppm to 150 ppm and a 42% limit has been set on aromatic substances in 96-octane gasoline where no limitations existed previously. • The Standards Institution of Israel is in the final stages of setting a gasoline standard with a 50-ppm sulfur content according to a European specification. • The Ministry of the Environment has initiated four research studies on the most suitable measures for reducing vehicular pollution under Israeli conditions which focus on the performance of buses using diesel oxidation catalytic converters, particulate traps in combination with oxidation catalysts, continuous regenerating traps, and diesel particulate filters. • An economic assessment of the feasibility of scrapping old vehicles showed that scrapping is beneficial both to the environment and to the economy.

Israel is introducing cleaner fuels for a cleaner environment

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NOx Annual Averages in Transportation Stations in Tel Aviv 1998-2002
106 101 107 99 98 98 104 100 86 89 82 93 104 99

120
88 93 87 81 82 91

100 80 60
annual average (ppb)

76

64

40 20 0
1998 Amiel-Tel Aviv Ironi D-Tel Aviv 1999 2000 2001 2002 Ironi TZ-Tel Aviv Tipat HalavTel Aviv Remez-Bnei Brak

63

64

112

Treating life-threatening hotspots

Treating municipal and industrial waste

Toward Remediation Of Ramat Hovav
hings may be falling into place in Israel's central site for hazardous waste treatment
• The Ministry of the Environment issued new environmental conditions to the business license of the Ramat Hovav hazardous waste treatment plant. • The Ministry of the Environment issued an international tender for the preparation of a historical survey, field survey and masterplan for the remediation of the hazardous waste treatment site at Ramat Hovav which could be extended for the design and close supervision of the remediation.

Preventing water pollution and restoring rivers

Reducing air pollution from transportation and industrial sources

Treating lifethreatening hotspots

Implementing the Business Licensing Conditions
Microfiltration at the Ramat Hovav plant. Photo: Environmental Services Company

Catalyzing economic growth and national interests

Improving the urban environment and preserving open spaces

Safety and environmental standards at the Ramat Hovav hazardous waste site, located about 12 km south of Beersheba in the northern Negev, were questionable at best only a few years ago. Today, the site is gradually being transformed into a modern site for the treatment of hazardous waste. The catalyst may well have been a fire that broke out at the site in August 1998. It underlined the fact that something had to be done to stop the ticking time bomb. And things were indeed done — some immediately, others over a longer period of time. In 1999 and early 2000, the following activities were initiated: • The government allocated funds for the initial treatment of life-threatening risks including old and leaking acidic tar ponds and storage barrels. • The Environmental Services Company, which operates the site, stopped accepting wastes for which feasible treatment technologies did not exist, developed new treatment solutions for some of the wastes and improved storage conditions and handling procedures.

The conditions set in the business license of the Environmental Services Company in 2000 are now being implemented. They relate to sampling, laboratory analysis and identification of all incoming hazardous waste, unloading and storage of the waste, determination of the preferred treatment technology, treatment of liquid inorganic waste, incineration of organic waste, site rehabilitation, mapping and documentation, and safety, inspection, emergency and reporting procedures. They prohibit the discharge of all wastes to evaporation ponds and call for stabilizing the hazardous waste destined for landfilling.

Preparing for Remediation
Perhaps one of the most important — and most pressing — items on the Ramat Hovav agenda is remediation. The multi-million dollar remediation project for the site, initiated in August 1999, includes five phases: historical survey (concluded in 11/2000); field study (concluded in 12/2001); remediation masterplan (concluded in 2003); detailed planning; and remediation. The analysis of the field study results and their comparison with internationally accepted environmental standards revealed a gloomy

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picture: high contamination of the underground of the site, mainly affecting the brackish groundwater at the upper part of the aquifer and the top soil, with organic as well as inorganic compounds as well as contamination of the soil gas, soil and rock material in the underground by carcinogenic or suspected carcinogenic compounds. It was also found that volatile contaminants were evaporating from the groundwater and threatening to reach the surface by migrating through fractures.

• Upgrading of existing waste treatment technologies and implementation of new technologies. According to the plan, the waste in the northern part of the site will be removed and treated by the Environmental Services Company while the underground (soil, water, soil gas) and the entire southern part (water and underground) will be treated under the responsibility of the Ministry of the Environment.

Priorities for Action
The proposed remediation sequence is based on the principle that the most hazardous areas will be treated first, that emissions to groundwater and air will be stopped within a short period of time and that the site will remain operational. Since the most contaminated areas were found to be two acidic tar ponds, known as BH-1/3 and BH-2, the remediation sequence called for the stabilization of the waste and contaminated subsoil in the area of these acidic ponds as a first step. Technical specifications have already been prepared for the design and remediation of these tar ponds. According to the masterplan, their remediation will mark a major milestone — the first phase of the Ramat Hovav Hazardous Waste Treatment Site Remediation Project.

Recommendations for Action
The results left no doubt that contamination poses serious risks to public health, the environment and groundwater. It left no doubt that remediation was imperative. It was left for the masterplan, published in 2003, to point the way toward remediation. Remediation targets are based on: • Removal, treatment and safe re-deposition of the old waste. • Excavation, treatment and safe deposition of contaminated soil under and around these deposition areas. • Securing of areas by capping. • Extraction and treatment of contaminated groundwater and soil gas until reaching the recommended Rehabilitation Threshold Levels (RTL).

One of the most important and most pressing items on the Ramat Hovav agenda is remediation

www.environment.gov.il

Aerial view of the Ramat Hovav Hazardous Waste Treatment Plant. Acidic ponds for remediation are at the southeastern part. Photo: Courtesy of Environmental Services Company

Treating life-threatening hotspots

MICHAL BAR-TOV ON RAMAT HOVAV
Treating municipal and industrial waste

Director, Hazardous Substances Division
Today, nearly two and a half decades after the Ramat Hovav site was first opened, sound management of hazardous waste is becoming a reality. If the first decade was characterized by mishaps and mismanagement and the second by the establishment of treatment and neutralization facilities at the site, the third decade will hopefully see the introduction of additional improvements, both in ter ms of site remediation and safer hazardous waste treatment. The price tag for remediation is not cheap — especially under today's budgetary constraints. Full implementation of the program outlined in the masterplan is estimated at $75 million. Yet despite the price tag, there is no other option. The ticking time bomb must be stopped.

Preventing water pollution and restoring rivers

Reducing air pollution from transportati on and industrial sources

Distribution of Hazardous Waste Treatment (2002)
Treating lifethreatening hotspots
use as fuel 3% export 6%

Catalyzing economic growth and national interests

recovery 53% disposal 38%

Improving the urban environment and preserving open spaces
tons
90,000 80,000 70,000 60,000 50,000 40,000 30,000 20,000 10,000 0
45,457 16,694

Disposal of Hazardous Waste to Ramat Hovav
16,778 4,500 5,508 57,592 5,768 3,068 65,846

3,076 59,875 47,778 1,761 47,652

3,928 60,686

96

97

98

99

2000

2001

2002

waste from industry

ash from Ecosol

extraordinary one-time shipments

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ARIK BAR-SADE ON THE RAMAT HOVAV INDUSTRIAL AREA
Director of the Southern District, Ministry of the Environment
Why has the industrial park of Ramat Hovav, which is adjacent to the hazardous waste treatment site, generated environmental problems? The situation in the Ramat Hovav industrial area, which is located some 10 kilometers south of Beersheba, is problematic and complex due to the character of the industrial plants (mostly chemical plants), the unsuitable infrastructure on which the industrial area was established and the lack of an appropriate environmental solution to industrial effluents. What are the major nuisances associated with the industrial park? Over the past two years, severe odor events, which were largely dispersed from a sur face area of some 150 hectares of evaporation ponds, plagued the residents of the area. This problem reached severe proportions last year and affected the daily life of the surrounding population. In addition, air pollution is a problem in the area. What has the Ministry of the Environment done to solve the problems? Firstly, in the mid 1990s, we initiated and funded a soil survey which revealed a difficult problem of pollutant infiltration to groundwater. In response to requirements by the Environment Ministry, the Ramat Hovav Industrial Council, which is responsible for the area, prepared an action plan for stopping the pollution and rehabilitating the area. This plan was approved and, to a large extent, was implemented as well. Secondly, in response to last year ’ s severe odor events and lack of an environmental solution for the wastewater of Ramat Hovav, the Environment Ministry called on the plants to treat their wastes in-house rather than discharging them for joint treatment by the Industrial Council. These obligations were incorporated in the business licensing conditions of the Industrial Council. Thirdly, we initiated a system of spot checks, based on stack sampling without prior notice, in the area. There is no question that this led to a significant improvement in industrial compliance with emission requirements. Today, the major remaining problem is pollutant evaporation into the air from the evaporation ponds. Once the evaporation ponds will be removed, the last major pollution problem in the industrial area will be solved.

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Hazardous Waste Minimization Project
Industrial plants in Israel are learning that waste minimization makes sense - both financially and environmentally. To drive the message home, the Ministry of the Environment has been providing financial aid to industries that minimize their wastes since 1999. The incentive program is in line with the ministry’s policy on hazardous waste treatment, which is based, in order of priority, on the following: • Prevention or reduction at source. • Recycling/reuse. • Reuse as an energy source. • Disposal. Based on a series of criteria, including reduction method, toxicity, reduction quantity, environmental contribution and technological feasibility, the Environment Ministry finances up to 40% of the investment value incurred by the industrial plants, up to a sum of NIS 200,000 (about $45,000). The cumulative and annual results for the period 19992003 speak for themselves: • Completion of 28 projects between 1999-2003. • Total investment in waste minimization projects: NIS 16.5 million. • To t a l f i n a n c i a l g r a n t s b y t h e M i n i s t r y o f t h e Environment: NIS 3.5 million. • Annual reduction of hazardous waste: 14,500 tons/year. • Annual financial savings to the industrial plants: NIS 13.6 million/year.

Catalyzing economic growth and national interests

Treating municipal and industrial waste

Preventing water pollution and restoring rivers

Government Approves Sustainable Development Plan
n accordance with a government resolution, ministries are already busy preparing sustainable development strategies
In May 2003, the Israel government unanimously approved the proposal of Environment Minister Prof. Yehudith Naot to prepare a sustainable development plan for Israel. The government resolved that the policy of the Government of Israel will be based on principles of sustainable development which integrate: a dynamic economy, wise use of natural resources, protection of ecosystems and provision of equal opportunities to all. This - in order to respond to the needs of present and future generations, in continuation to the government decision of August 4, 2002, and in the spirit of the decisions taken in the World Summit on Sustainable Development which took place in Johannesburg, South Africa. In the spirit of the Plan of Implementation, each government ministry will prepare a sustainable development strategy plan until the year 2020 which will include a ministerial action plan and means of implementation.

Reducing air pollution from transportation and industrial sources

Treating lifethreatening hotspots

Catalyzing economic growth and national interests

Improving the urban environment and preserving open spaces

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VALERIE BRACHYA ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
Deputy Director General for Policy and Planning

What were the forces that brought about the government decision on preparation of a sustainable development strategy for Israel? Of course the major catalyst was the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development, which created the awareness and willingness to put sustainable development on the agenda of every government ministry. Yet the Ministry of the Environment carefully laid the groundwork for this decision in previous years. I believe that sustainable development presents a positive approach to the environment as opposed to the traditional form of top-down regulatory action which may be perceived as a constraint by government ministries. What is being done to implement the government decision? An interministerial committee was established to promote the process of drafting sustainable development strategies within the different ministries. In addition, the Ministry of the Environment has placed an external consultant at the disposal of four ministries in order to move the agenda forward and has organized seminars with the top management of several ministries. Each ministry is currently mapping and identifying its sustainable development practices according to a standard format and according to 16 principles of sustainable development which were consolidated by the Ministry of the Environment. The idea is to identify those existing activities that promote sustainable development,

those that contradict it and missing or neglected areas. In addition, each ministry is promoting the specific tasks outlined in the government decision for implementation by the different ministries. When and how do you expect the government decision to make a difference? I don't expect a sudden change but rather envision that the process will develop through an incremental series of small steps within each ministry. The result will only be evident over a period of time. The idea is to create an ongoing process of reorientation toward sustainable development within government agencies. While I don't expect to see dramatic changes in the short term, hopeful signs are already evident. For example, just last week (February 2004) the Knesset Committee on Internal Affairs and the Environment devoted a special session to the sustainable development strategy in which several government ministries, including Agriculture, Education and Social Affairs, presented some findings. The committee intends to follow up on these reports and to present the proposed plan of each ministry to the relevant Knesset Committees (for example the plan of the Education Ministry to the Knesset Committee on Education) for further discussion and development.

The policy of the Government of Israel will be based on principles of sustainable development which integrate: a dynamic economy, wise use of natural resources, protection of ecosystems and provision of equal opportunities to all

www.environment.gov.il

Improving the urban environment and preserving open spaces

Treating municipal and industrial waste

Preventing water pollution and restoring rivers

Environmental Considerations In Municipal Elections
urvey underlines the importance of environmental issues on the municipal agenda
How critical are environmental issues to election results? Do voters expect mayoral candidates to relate to environmental issues? Which issues are of most importance to the electorate in different cities in Israel? To help respond to these and other questions, the Ministry of the Environment commissioned a survey on environmental considerations in local authorities. The survey, conducted in August 2003, revealed public perceptions on the environment just in time for the October municipal elections. The findings clearly confirm that residents of cities throughout the country attribute high importance to environmental issues. Following are some major findings: • On the basis of unaided awareness, respondents perceived the environment as the second most important issue that a mayor must address. Welfare and social issues took first place while development showed up in third place, construction in fourth place and sound administration in fifth place. • On the basis of aided awareness of important issues in which to invest efforts, education took first place among the general population and the environment placed second. • Among the wide variety of subjects that make up the environment, respondents were most concerned about urban cleanliness and development of green spaces, public parks and gardens, and to a lesser degree, about roads, air pollution, garbage collection, recycling and city appearance. • The environment was shown to be of major importance to the Israeli public (80%), both in the national sample and in each of the cities assessed.

Reducing air pollution from transportation and industrial sources

Treating lifethreatening hotspots

Catalyzing economic growth and national interests

Improving the urban environment and preserving open spaces

Environmental Subjects Requiring Improvements
100 90 80 70 60 50
percent of the group
80

40 30
24 20 10 9 8 6 6 5 3

20 10
total noting need for improvement

recycling

playgrounds for children

air pollution

pest control

roads

lighting

bad odors

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sewage infrastructure

parks

garbage collection

city appearance

cleanliness

pavements

0

2

2

1

1

Alexander River Photo: Eyal Yaffe

www.environment.gov.il

SHARON ACHDUT ON ENVIRONMENTAL AWARENESS
Spokesperson, Ministry of the Environment

In the summer of 2003, you commissioned a comprehensive survey on environmental considerations in municipal elections. Why did you do so? In recent years, environmental awareness has risen significantly for different reasons: higher exposure of environmental subjects in the media, increased environmental education in the school system and growing industrial awareness of the need for environmental investments. We commissioned the survey to identify the considerations of the Israeli voter on the local level and to make candidates aware of these considerations. The results showed that social welfare and education are of foremost importance on the local level, but that environmental considerations are second in importance. I believe that if the same survey were taken ten or fifteen years ago, environmental subjects would have come in far behind - in fifth or sixth place. To what do you attribute these changes? I think there is a clear correlation between the growing number of environmental stories in the local media - weekend supplements and community radio and television - and voting patterns on the local level. With the increase in local media coverage of environmental issues and the continued growth in the strength and influence of non-governmental organizations,

mayors can no longer afford to ignore environmental issues. We saw this in our most recent local elections. The proposed marina project, which threatens to impact public access to the coastline, was a major issue in Haifa, air pollution was high on the priority list in Tel Aviv, while environmental nuisances in Ramat Hovav were of prime importance in Beersheba. Do you expect this trend to influence the national agenda as well? The Israeli citizen is more aware of his rights than ever before. In our recent municipal elections nearly every party related to the environment in its platform and some parties ran on an environmental ticket. The results are clear. The number of "green" council members in local authorities has grown significantly since the last elections - from five to 40. I think this trend will impact on national elections as well. In today's Knesset, representatives of just about every political party are identified with environmental initiatives. The Knesset Internal Affairs and Environment Committee is more involved in environmental subjects than ever before and the Knesset environmental lobby, which includes some 40 Knesset members, is the largest lobby in our parliament.

Residents of cities throughout the country attribute high importance to environmental issues

International Cooperation

From Lucien Chabason
Coordinator, Mediterranean Action Plan
Mr. Lucien Chabason served as Coordinator of the Mediterranean Action Plan from 1994 to 2003. He kindly provided the following interview to Israel Environment Bulletin during his visit to Israel in late October 2003:

Environmental policy used to deal with production, but sustainability deals more with consumption

What was the purpose of your current visit to Israel and what are your initial impressions of the country? I was invited to Israel by the new Minister of the Environment, Prof. Yehudith Naot and by the new Director General, Dr. Miriam Haran, in order to review the Israeli involvement in MAP, to prepare for the upcoming meeting of the Contracting Parties in Catania, to push for the ratification of the new Barcelona Convention and to hear about some of Israel's achievements in the prevention of marine and river pollution. I took the opportunity to visit several sites in Israel including the Kishon River and the Alexander River Project. Israel is a country with high density, high level of income, and high infrastructure development. On the one hand, this provides it with the financial potential to resolve some problems, such as industrial pollution or river pollution. On the other hand, the remaining natural space, especially in central Israel, is under a great deal of pressure from sprawling urbanization, roads, marinas and other development initiatives. How can Israel address these threats to its natural environment? The question now is one of sustainability. The issues that Israel faces are: What kind of development should it implement? Can it save the natural coastline? Can it cope with the need for controlling energy consumption?

Can it implement sustainable energy policy and sustainable transport policy? Can it extend the railway? Control the growth in private cars? I would say that Israel has to move from an environmental policy to a sustainable development policy while at the same time not forgetting the need for a strict environmental policy. I know that the government is now working on a national strategy for sustainable development. Sustainable development can either be a very serious policy with concrete targets or just a matter of cosmetic discourse, words alone. I have no doubt that Israel's sustainable development strategy will be a serious matter because the Ministry of the Environment, which is the leading body in this context, and its staff are very professional and committed. The biggest challenge will be to convince the population, not just other ministries - to speak to the general public about its style of life, consumption patterns, use of water, energy,

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www.environment.gov.il

transportation, readiness to use public transportation. What is needed is the education of the population as a whole. Environmental policy used to deal with production, but sustainability deals more with consumption. For example, the pollution of the Kishon River can be solved by several large companies or municipalities, but in order to promote sustainable consumption, sustainable transport, you have to speak to the entire public. There are new players, new approaches. Sustainable development requires a complete revolution. As coordinator of MAP since 1994 can you describe the main priorities of MAP over the years? I have always considered MAP to be first and foremost a marine convention and we should stick to that. Within this concept, I always gave priority to marine pollution. We have to reduce marine pollution, our cities have to be equipped with efficient wastewater treatment plants, our rivers have to be cleaner. After the Erika and Prestige oil spills, I suggested to the parties that we give more priority to the prevention of maritime accidents and oil spills in the Mediterranean, that we have a new protocol, strengthen our REMPEC center in Malta, and adopt a strategy for reducing oil spills and maritime accidents. Thirdly, marine and coastal biodiversity remains a high-level question. We are not in a position to address this issue as well as we should, partly due to the separation in competencies between organizations dealing with protected areas and biodiversity and those dealing with fisheries. We should not separate fish from other protected animal species. We need a more holistic approach. Finally, we have to give high priority to the protection of the littoral everywhere. The pressure of tourism is so high and the push for building and development for political and

International News
Government Ratifies Kyoto Protocol
The Israeli government ratified the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in February 2004. Although Israel is classified as a developing country under the Climate Change Convention, the government has resolved to undertake activities to reduce emissions of greenhouses gases on the basis of the conclusions of an interministerial committee on climate change which was set up for this purpose. Ratification of the Kyoto Protocol will allow Israel to benefit from the provisions of the Clean Development Mechanism and to advance projects which support the principles of sustainable development.

Toward a cleaner environment in air and sea

Israel-Jordan Cooperation in the Gulf of Aqaba
Israel and Jordan have signed an agreement on a monitoring and data management program in the Gulf of Aqaba. The agreement, based on the experience gained during the recently completed Red Sea Marine Peace Park Cooperative Research, Monitoring and Management Program, specifically recognizes the importance of transboundary coordination and cooperation between the national monitoring programs of the two countries to promote the long term sustainable use and conservation of their shared marine resources.

Pollution prevention at the Gulf of Eilat Photo: Marine Pollution and Coastal Environment Division

International Cooperation
...From Lucien Chabason
economic interest is so high that governments hesitate about being stricter about coastal protection. Therefore, I am happy to see that Israel is now on track to adopt a law on the coast. I hope it will be a good law, efficient and strict, in order to allow the country to preserve some of its natural coastal sections and to design the future development of the coast in a more environmentally-friendly way. What was the impact of MAP on Israel and on Mediterranean countries as a whole? During my meeting with the Director General, Dr. Miriam Haran, she told me that MAP was very useful in pushing countries, including Israel, to strengthen their national marine pollution prevention legislation, especially on land-based sources. I believe that without the regional protocols, a lot of countries wouldn't have had the political strength on a national level to adopt strict rules on sustainable development and management of the coast. Israel was right to give first priority to prevention of pollution, because the situation with regard to marine pollution was grave 15 years ago. The Ministry of the Environment brought about major improvements in this area and I think that MAP was helpful in this regard. I am convinced that international environmental law is a powerful instrument and framework to push a country to improve its environmental policy. It provides the necessary legal basis to push a government forward toward enforcement. This brings me to the need for Israel to ratify the amended convention and the protocols on land-based sources and dumping. We need the ratification of 17 parties in order for the amended convention and protocols to enter into force. As of today, we only have 15. Therefore, I would say that the credibility of the convention is partially in the hands of Israel. What role did Israel play in the different components of MAP? I am positively impressed with Israel's role within MAP. Israel has been very active in regional cooperation in case of maritime accidents and in emergency plans as well as in the MED POL program. It is now involved in the Strategic Action Plan to reduce land-based pollution and within this context it has successfully calculated its baseline budget, amount of pollutants going to sea, and categories of pollution. I hope the country will adopt a national action plan to further reduce land-based pollution. More recently, Israel has become involved in the MEDA project of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership under the coordination of the Regional Activity Center for Specially Protected Areas in Tunisia. The project is bringing together managers of protected areas for the purpose of building and raising the management capacity of marine nature reserves. Do you have a vision for what you would like to see in Israel and in the Mediterranean? Firstly I would like to see peace and cooperation in the Middle East. Secondly, with the enlargement of the European Union to include more countries, I would want MAP to serve as a bridge in the field of environmental protection and sustainable development between the north and the east and south. Thirdly, we have to invest much additional effort to reduce pollution from urban industrial areas, even in European countries. Finally, there is the issue of coastal zone management. If we continue the present direction, everything will be built, nothing will remain. Dunes, wetlands, our natural heritage, the natural landscapes of the Mediterranean Sea will disappear. Is this what we want? I don't think so. We should establish legal rules, institutions and functional mechanisms aimed at protecting the natural landscapes of the Mediterranean littoral. This is a major priority. Everywhere.

International environmental law is a powerful instrument and framework to push a country to improve its environmental policy

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Environmental Legislation

www.environment.gov.il

Hazardous Substances Regulations (Criteria for Determining Validity Periods for Poisons Permits), 2003 Regulations on hazardous substances, which set criteria for determining the validity period of Poisons Permits, came into force in July 2003. They are intended to promote efficiency and strengthen enforcement of the permit system set up under the Hazardous Substances Law of 1993. The regulations classify permit holders into three risk categories (A, B and C), which determine the length of time in which a permit will be valid. Criteria for granting Poisons Permits for different periods of time - ranging from one to three years

considerations in earlier stages of the planning and decision making processes, and incorporating sustainable development principles in EIAs. The regulations, which were drafted by the Ministry of the Environment in cooperation with the Ministry of the Interior, are based on the experience gained in Israel and worldwide. The regulations broaden the possibilities of requiring EIAs for proposed development in environmentally sensitive areas, such as coasts and riverbanks. They include, inter alia, provisions regarding the need to review, in some cases, the sensitivity of the environment in which the plan is proposed including its exposure to pollution and its level of degradation and risk, and not only the impact of the proposed plan on the environment. A possibility to prepare the EIA in stages is also included to enable the review of alternatives, such as siting, operational process and technology in the first stage, and the assessment of environmental impacts of the preferred alternative in the second stage. The new regulations establish strict timetables for the preparation of guidelines for an EIA and for EIA review and a three-year limit on the validity of the guidelines.

New regulations on environmental impact assessment are helping to introduce environmental considerations in earlier stages of the planning and decision making processes

-are based on the type and quantity of the hazardous substance, taking into consideration the type of industry or activity and the potential environmental risk level of the hazardous substance. Permit holders, which are classified at the highest risk level (level A), are issued permits once a year and are subject to more frequent inspections and higher fees. Planning and Building Regulations (Environmental Impact Assessments), 2003 New regulations on environmental impact assessment (EIA), which replace the previous 1982 regulations, came into force in September 2003. They are aimed at upgrading the EIA system in Israel, helping to introduce environmental Business Licensing Regulations (Salt Concentrations in Industrial Sewage), 2003 These regulations, which set threshold values for salt concentrations in industrial sewage, will come into effect in September 2004. They aim at reducing the salinity of sewage in Israel, which constitutes a major problem due to the country's need to

Environmental Legislation
use reclaimed effluents for irrigation purposes. High levels of chloride, sodium and boron in Israel's sewage threaten to pollute the soil and groundwater and reduce crop yields. The regulations prohibit dilution as a solution and set strict threshold standards for chlorides, sodium, fluorides and boron before being discharged to a wastewater treatment plant as follows: chlorides - 430 milligrams/liter; sodium - 230 milligrams/liter; fluorides - 6 milligrams/liter and boron - 1.5 milligrams/liter. The regulations allow for imposing more or less stringent standards based on salt concentrations in the water supply to the industrial plant. More stringent thresholds may be imposed if there is processes, if the reduction demands will interfere with or harm production, and in other specific cases which are enumerated in the regulations. Water Regulations (Prevention of Water Pollution) (pH Values of Industrial Sewage), 2003 The purpose of these regulations, scheduled to come into effect in May 2004, is to protect the environment and prevent the pollution of water sources from the impacts of corrosion generated by industrial sewage. The regulations prohibit an industrial plant from discharging sewage whose pH is less than 6.0 or higher than 10.0 to the sewage system or whose pH is lower than 6.0 or higher than 9.0 to a reservoir, with some exceptions for specific cases. These include, among others, cases in which the pipe at the connection point of the plant to the sewage system or reservoir is made of materials resistant to a pH between 5.0 and 6.0, cases where the mix of sewage discharged from the plant and flowing in the municipal sewage pipeline is not lower than 6.0 or not higher than 10.0 at the exit point from the plant, and cases where the quantity of sewage discharged to the municipal sewage system is less than 10 cubic meters per day.

New regulations promise to improve hazardous substances management and prevent water pollution

reason to believe that the salinity of the effluents discharged poses a real danger to the environment. On the other hand, easements of the standards are possible if the plant demonstrates that it uses best available technology to reduce pollutant concentrations in production and waste treatment

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RUTH ROTENBERG ON COURT RULINGS
Legal Advisor - Head of the Legal Department
The Ministry of the Environment conducted during 2003 more than 600 court cases against environmental offenders - whether industrial plants, including gas companies, small businesses and waste contractors and their managers, or local authorities and their mayors and senior officials. The cases that were filed by the attorneys of the Ministry of the Environment empowered by the Attorney General, relate to matters such as water resource pollution, marine pollution, waste treatment, hazardous substance treatment and cleanliness. They are largely conducted in the Magistrate Courts throughout the country and, in some special cases, by way of appeal, in District Courts and even in the Supreme Court. Over the last decade, the number of cases handled by the ministry increased from tens to hundreds and in recent years they have risen significantly - from about 400 cases in 2001, to more than 500 in 2002, and to nearly 650 in 2003. The Ministry of the Environment and its enforcement and legal sections consider these results to be satisfactory and encouraging especially due to the fact that last year 113 out of 116 cases ended in convictions of all or part of the defendants. This conviction rate, which is close to 100%, has been consistently noted over the last three years. Furthermore, a look at fine levels in recent years demonstrates that penalties are increasing and getting more severe so that in 2001 total fines summed up to about 2 million shekels, in 2002 they rose to more than 4 million, and in 2003 they amounted to about 6 million shekels. Nearly all of the fines are paid to environmental funds targeted to advancing environmental goals and promoting environmental enforcement and educational activities. These results demonstrate, no doubt, not only the increased capacity-building and ongoing efforts of the legal and enforcement work of the ministry, in collaboration with other enforcement agencies, but, to a large extent, also the rise of environmental awareness of the courts and judges.

www.environment.gov.il

Hazardous Substances Regulations (Implementation of Provisions of the Montreal Protocol), 2004 These regulations, promulgated in January 2004, are aimed at implementing the provisions of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer within the Israeli legal system. The regulations set restrictions on the production, consumption, import and export of substances that deplete or are likely to deplete the ozone layer and establish means of inspection and control mechanisms. Water Regulations (Prevention of Water Pollution) (Usage of Sludge), 2004 These regulations, prepared by the Ministry of the Environment in collaboration with the Ministries of Health and the Water Council, aim at preventing pollution of water sources and environmental degradation as a result of improper disposal of sludge originating in municipal sewage treatment plants. The regulations, which will come into force in the beginning of 2005, require wastewater treatment plants to stabilize and treat the sludge they generate to enable agricultural use or soil conditioning. The regulations establish maximum standards for heavy metals, pathogens and odor for sludge designated for agricultural use. They also set recording and laboratory testing requirements, define specific uses for different classes of sludge (A and B), set limitations on areas of sludge use, and prescribe requirements for warning signs, transport and storage. Requirements for class A sludge, which is virtually pasteurized and highly stabilized, will come into effect three years after the regulations come into force.

Last year 113 out of 116 cases ended in convictions of all or part of the defendants

WithA Face To The Public
A public, which is knowledgeable about its right to quality of life and the environment, will be an enlightened public, ready to participate and act on behalf of the environment

THE PUBLIC
AT THE FOREFRONT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
Efforts to foster access to information, transparency, education and public relations are empowering the public to take an active part in protecting the environment A public, which is knowledgeable about its right to quality of life and the environment, will be an enlightened public, ready to participate and act on behalf of the environment. Based on the motto that knowledge is power, the Ministry of the Environment is investing major efforts in improving public access and transparency through a variety of means: producing information leaflets and professional publications, responding to public queries, developing a comprehensive Internet site, implementing the Freedom of Information Law and, of course, promoting environmental education, awareness and participation among every age group, in every segment of the population.

Promoting Public Access
Students, professionals and members of the general public are welcome to request information or submit complaints concerning environmental deterioration to the Ministry of the Environment by mail, e-mail or online Internet forms. Nearly 10,000 public queries and complaints reach the ministry each year, with the largest percentage relating to issues such as radiation, air and waste. Recognition of the public's right to know led to the enactment of the Freedom of Information Law in 1998. The law specifically relates to means of accessing the information, to the appointment of a commissioner responsible for providing the information to the public in each public authority, and to fee schedules based on the efforts involved in the collection and preparation of the information. Certain provisions for refusing release of the information, such as national security or commercial secrets, are also included in the law. The Ministry of the Environment was a staunch supporter of the law and lost no time in appointing an official responsible for its implementation. In 2001 and 2002, the ministry dealt with some 100 petitions for information under this law annually. In 2003, a 30% jump in these requests was noted - 130 petitions in all.

Publications
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58

16

15 6

Publications to General Public
2002 2003

Professional Publications

The Public Relations Unit strives for maximum transparency and service in the provision of information to all applicants - whether students, lawyers, industrial plants, members of the general public or green organizations.

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Public Interest Advocacy In The New Era Of Open Environmental Information
be made available to legitimate public interest groups. However, in many areas, for example the Ministry of Health's files on drinking water, the situation was entirely different. Also, government officials frequently lacked important data sets or an infrastructure for organizing and sharing data.During the discussions in the Knesset about the Freedom of Information Law To appreciate the significance of Israel's Freedom of it was often emphasized that government agencies Information Law for public interest organizations, one needed to stop perceiving statistics about the needs to remember the situation that existed prior to environment as their private possessions. Rather, these the legislation's enactment. Garnering credible figures belong to the public; the government only information for litigation or environmental campaigns holds them in trust. It was due to the demands of is extremely expensive and of course generating environmental organizations that the Law now historical data impossible. Environmental organizations specifically clarifies that emissions into the environment often had to resort to subterfuge to gain access to are not protected by claims of industry trade secrets. basic information that government agencies held The same public that suffers the consequences from about exposures to contamination to radiation, soil, their release is entitled to know what they are.While air and water. Activists would pose as ingenuous the new law improved the situation dramatically, it university students, files would be surreptitiously copied is not a panacea. Frequently, requests for information and leaked by friendly government workers and get lost, and evidence that was sometimes provided measurements were sometimes conducted under informally, must now be processed through a formal illegal or dangerous conditions.In all fairness, Israel's government procedure, which is neither fast nor free. Ministry of Environment was always something of an However, the law has changed the default assumption anomaly in the government bureaucracy as it about environmental record keeping. This is reflected maintained a relatively consistent, open policy. The in the superb website run by Israel's Ministry of Ministry's Legal Department always held that Environment, whose Hebrew side contains inordinate environmental data, permits, etc. could (and should) amounts of useful data for citizens. This level of institutional transparency Requests for Information under the Freedom of Information Law is exceptional worldwide.Israel's environmental movement continues to mature and to play the role of watchdog for a government that often does not prioritize environmental objectives and comply with its 100 130 statutory responsibilities. Without reliable information, neither the courts nor the press can be used to leverage more conscientious and expeditious government intervention. Dr. Alon Tal, Chairman, Life and Environment - Israel NGO Umbrella Group for 80 Green Organizations and Director of Research, the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies
100
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www.environment.gov.il

Photos: Motti Sela, Eyal Yaffe

With a Face to the Public
DR. DALIA DORON ON ENVIRONMENTAL LITERACY
Director, Education and Information Division What is the Ministry of the Environment’s role in promoting sustainable development? Our goal is to assimilate the subject within the community as a whole. Our first priority is the educational network, which has an impact not only on the students themselves but also on their parents, the school administration and even the community. However, at the same time, we have already made inroads to other sectors as well - including day-care administrators and caregivers, institutes of higher learning, even supermarket chains. What is the Environment Ministry’s role vis à vis the Education Ministry? We are investing major resources in providing the necessary professional input and support to the Ministry of Education and jointly promoting a wide variety of environmental projects. A major achievement is the recent directive of the Director General of the Ministry of Education on implementation of education for sustainable development in the educational system. The publication, prepared in cooperation with the Education Division in the Ministry of the Environment, was distributed to all of the country’s schools in January 2004. It presents benchmarks for sustainability in educational institutes, relates to education for environmental literacy at every level of education, and provides examples of community and school sustainability projects. How else are the two ministries promoting the subject? We decided to organize an annual Environmental Week in the Educational System which will take place on the week before the Passover vacation. This year’s events, scheduled for March 21-26, will focus on sustainable development activities in schools and on a sustainable development competition targeted at all of the country’s educational institutes. Finalists, whether in the form of posters or research projects, will be featured - and awarded - within the context of the International Exhibition on Environmental Technologies in June of this year. In preparation for the week, environmental posters and a booklet with suggestions on environmental projects have already been distributed to more than 4,000 schools throughout the country.

Green Schools: Education Toward Sustainability
Israeli schools incorporate sustainable development processes
By June 2004, some 100 schools throughout the country may be accredited as "Green Schools." The project, a brainchild of the Ministry of Education and Ministry of the Environment in cooperation with the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, the Nature and Parks Authority, the Green Network and the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, was initiated in preparation for the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development. Today, plans and visions are being transformed into reality. The Ministry of the Environment is convinced that the transition to sustainability may best be effected by personal example — through the school itself. The idea is to encourage schools, with the cooperation of administration, students, parents and community, not just to teach environmental subjects but to act sustainably, conserve resources, and advance eco-efficiency.

Initiating the Green School Process
In order to help schools along the road toward sustainability, the Ministry of the Environment and its partners have drafted guidelines and indicators for Green Schools. The three-step process calls for commitment on the part of the school, mapping of the current state of environmental education, and for mulation of environmental indicators for achievement. The action plan itself, which is backed up by sustainability indicators, relates to three main areas: curriculum integration, rational use of resources and contribution to the community. Only those schools which formulate and implement their goals in each of the three categories are eligible for Green School accreditation. Studies have shown that innovative environmental literacy programs are an impetus for advancing general academic excellence, promoting better understanding among people, providing essential skills, fostering curiosity and wonder, and leading to responsible citizenship and community involvement. Hopefully, the environment based educational approach, which underlies the Green School project, will continue to guide students, parents and community members through a lifetime of environmentally responsible behavior.

Trends in Environmental Education
2,500
2,140

2,000 1,500 1,000
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environment-active schools

environment-active kindergartens

community & training

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www.environment.gov.il
websites for everyone
www.environment.gov.il is Israel's most comprehensive Hebrew environmental information channel with associated websites in English and Arabic and a special children's site As part of its policy of transparency and public participation, the Ministry of the Environment has developed websites for everyone - young and old, Hebrew, English and Arabic speakers, in Israel and worldwide. Following is a brief overview: Hebrew Website (www.environment.gov.il): This comprehensive website drew some 330,000 surfers in 2003 alone. In addition to information on some 30 environmental subjects, it features interactive maps with geographic information on subjects as wide-ranging as location of cellular antennas and noise exposure forecasts from airports. But that's not all. Additional highlights include online air quality information, listings of nongovernmental organizations, environmental tips, FAQs, calendars of events, information on tenders, forms for downloading, forums, photographic albums and a wide range of information on the ministry's environmental activities. Sababa-Children's Website (sababa.sviva.gov.il): This children-friendly site drew over 26,000 young surfers in January 2004 alone. Targeted at elementary school children- although older surfers are sure to find items of interest- it features information on a wide variety of topics along with games, quizzes, a green dictionary and more. English Website (www.environment.gov.il/english): This site, targeted at English speakers in Israel and worldwide, includes information on numerous environmental topics - including air, water and marine quality, hazardous substances and wastewater - all replete with links, graphs and pictures. Additional features include breaking news items, a look at the Ministry of the Environment, summaries of environmental laws and regulations, updates on international cooperation, a glimpse into cutting-edge environmental technologies and information on non-governmental environmental organizations in Israel. A special feature is a free environmental e-bulletin, dedicated to a different subject each month. Recent issues have focused on such subjects as marine pollution control, waste management, urban sustainability and air quality. To stay updated about environmental developments in Israel, surfers worldwide are invited to subscribe online. Arabic Website (www.environment.gov.il/arabic): This is the newest website of the Ministry of the Environment, targeted at the Arabic-speaking population. The site, still under construction, includes basic information on main subjects, with special emphasis on subjects that are of interest to Israel's Arabic speaking sector. It also provides information on the Ministry of the Environment and features environmental news items.

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For further information: The 3rd International Exhibition for Environmental Technologies www.environment-israel.com E-mail:orit@fairs.co.il Tel:+972-3-6404440 Fax:+972-3-6404447

New And Updated English Website Now Online -

www.environment.gov.il/english
Our new and updated English website is now online. The site includes: •Information on key environmental topics •News updates •lnformation on NGOs in Israel •Summaries of environmental legislation •Environmental indicators •Free, monthly environmental e-bulletin, featuring a new environmental topic each month •Nine e-bulletins are already online

Keeping updated about environmental developments in Israel has never been easier. Visit us at www.environment.gov.il/english, give a look and subscribe to the e-bulletin online.