The Environmental Protection Ministry will be allocating NIS 2 million for the purpose of maintaining cleanliness at beaches in 19 local authorities this summer, the ministry announced on Monday.
Under the framework of the ministry’s “Clean Beach” program, the funds will be administered with the purpose of maintaining the purity of undeclared beaches and open spaces along the Mediterranean Sea and Red Sea shores, the ministry said. A portion of the money will be specifically allocated toward cleaning debris that drifts toward Israeli coasts from the direction of Lebanon and other countries in the region, the ministry added.
“Every garbage bag on the beach gnaws at the connection between environmental justice and social justice,” said Environmental Protection Minister Amir Peretz. “Seashores belong to the entire public, and citizens deserve to enjoy clean and inviting beaches everywhere.”
The phenomenon of marine debris is a growing environmental problem around the global, and last year Mediterranean countries decided to act vigorously to curb this issue, the ministry said.
An analysis of the state of the nation’s beaches in 2013 indicated that the 10 cleanest undeclared beaches were Tel Baruch, Mifratz Hashemesh in Eilat, Hatzuk in Tel Aviv, Herzliya South, Hatzolelim in Palmahim, Kiryat Yam South, Hevrat Hahashmal Eilat, Ashdod North, Nahal Poleg, and Betzet, the ministry said.
Each local authority or council receiving funds from the ministry to preserve undeclared beaches will be getting between NIS 11,000 and NIS 270,000, the ministry said. If the evaluation of a given city’s beach indicates a decrease in cleanliness from month to month, the ministry said it would deduct money from the monthly maintenance budget.
The local authorities and councils that will be receiving support are, in alphabetical order: Acre, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Beer Tuviya, Eilat, Emek Hefer, Herzilya, Hadera, Hof Ashkelon, Hof Hacarmel, Hof Hasharon, Haifa, Jisr al-Zarqa, Kiryat Yam, Nahariya, Netanya, Tel Aviv-Yafo, and Tirat Carmel.
Of the potential participants, the only body to choose not to take part in the program is Gan Raveh Regional Council, which the ministry accused of “shirking its responsibility to to the beach.” The ministry noted that Gan Raveh has been designated as having the dirtiest beach in Israel – Palmahim South – and said it is preparing an indictment against council chairman Shlomo Elimelech for completely ignoring environmental guidelines.