In the concrete oasis of Atarot in Jerusalem’s north, Environmental Protection
Ministry officials and industry entrepreneurs on Monday laid the cornerstone for
the future recycling center that aims to replace the increasingly problematic –
but soon to be terminated – Abu Dis landfill.
The overflowing Abu Dis
landfill, located just east of Jerusalem, is slated to close down on December
In addition to receiving all of Jerusalem’s garbage, the landfill
currently absorbs waste from other towns in the region as well as from some
In order to provide a more environmentally friendly
solution for the capital’s garbage, the company Greenet has begun constructing a
state-of-the-art NIS 60 million recycling facility in the Atarot neighborhood,
which includes an NIS 17.6m. contribution from the ministry.
really the hi-tech of garbage,” Yossi Israeli-Shalev, the CEO of Greenet, told
launch ceremony participants at the site on Monday afternoon.
constructed, the new facility will take in approximately 1,200 tons of garbage
every day from Jerusalem proper, with some additional trash coming from nearby
Mevaseret Zion and Abu Ghosh, Israeli-Shalev told The Jerusalem Post following
The maximum amount of waste that the facility will be able
to handle is 1,500 tons daily, he explained.
Greenet is jointly owned by
two other companies – the Teco Group, which specializes in recycling, and YSB,
an infrastructure firm.
When the plant begins to operate this December
upon the closure of Abu Dis, it will initially simply act as a waste transfer
station, allowing the city’s waste to go from small urban trucks to larger
intercity trucks that carry the waste to other disposal sites, Israeli- Shalev
In around September 2014, however, the plant will begin performing
in full capacity its role as a sorting facility with high-end technology that
enables recycling up to European standards, he continued.
two years from now, the company will launch Israel’s anaerobic digestion
facility at the site, with an additional NIS 25m. grant from the
ministry, Israeli-Shalev said.
Meanwhile, the municipality will also be
opening a visitors center for children to teach about treating waste and
recycling, he explained.
Israeli-Shalev praised the city of Jerusalem for
choosing to handle the brunt of its garbage within its own bounds. In addition
to saving money on transportation and landfill levies, the city will also be
able to provide more than 100 places of work for people at the plant, he
“The way we see it, it’s a very good and responsible act to treat
waste inside your city,” Israeli-Shalev added.
“We don’t want NIMBY – not
in my backyard.”
Excluding that of east Jerusalem, the Palestinian waste
coming into Abu Dis will not be going to the Atarot recycling center in
Jerusalem. Rather, it will go to a brand new landfill in Al- Maniya – near Gush
Etzion – which is slated to open in mid-December as well, the ministry
After the El-Bireh governorate’s Psagot landfill shut down in early
August, the waste formerly dumped there was temporarily reassigned to go to Abu
Dis and Zahrat al- Finjan, until the Al-Maniya site opens. However, the El-
Bireh trash is not actually moving adequately to Abu Dis and Zahrat Al-Finjan as
planned, and the civil administration said that there are plans to build a
transfer station soon.
As far as Jerusalem’s future Atarot site goes,
however, Environmental Protection Minister Amir Peretz urged Greenet to develop
the facility as quickly as possible, as “caring for the environment is caring
“Jerusalem is a city with a very big challenge because it
is one of the poorest cities, where there are very difficult environmental
problems, primarily due to the diverse population – Arabs, ultra- Orthodox,
other populations,” Peretz told the Post following the ceremony.
facility will definitely achieve an important goal, but it will need to have the
cooperation of the city’s residents, because without this it will be very hard
to advance here in Jerusalem. I hope that we are in the right direction,”
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat stressed that this project will
contribute to the positive changes that the city is continually working to
Like Israeli-Shalev, he, too, stressed the importance of
maintaining the site within the municipality’s bounds.
In terms of waste
management, Barkat said, Jerusalem has the potential to go from being “the tail
of the state to the head of the state.”
“We will do everything we can to
help this project succeed,” Barkat added. “This is a day of celebration in
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