Environment Ministry declares Jerusalem bus station polluted

October 3, 2013 21:00

The levels of carbon monoxide, which is a marker for dirty air from vehicles, are high and must be reduced, ministry says.

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Jerusalem’s Central Bus Station

Jerusalem’s Central Bus Station 311. (photo credit: Michael Melech)

The air at the Jerusalem’s central bus station where passengers line up for buses is excessively polluted and endangers public health, the Environment Ministry said on Thursday.

It passed its findings on to the Health Ministry, the municipality, the station’s ownership and the Egged bus cooperative.

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The levels of carbon monoxide, which is a marker for dirty air from vehicles, are high and must be reduced, the Environment Ministry said.

The Health Ministry and the Jerusalem Municipality said they were not involved and that the Environment Ministry was in charge of the issue.

That ministry issued a public warning that bus travelers from and to the capital should not spend more time than necessary in the station’s bus terminals. Last year, the building was fined NIS 708,224 for air pollution, but the matter is stuck in the courts.

The carbon monoxide is produced by the diesel engines in the buses, which release higher amounts of dangerous inhaled particulate matter and larger particles, as well as gases, than cleaner-fuel buses, the Environment Ministry said. This violates clean-air laws.

Exposure to high levels of such pollutants can in the short term cause eyes to burn and discomfort to the nose and throat, respiratory difficulties, headaches, nausea and vomiting. In the long run, they can cause disease complications to the respiratory system including asthma attacks and acute and chronic bronchitis.

The Environment Ministry said it would update the public regarding Jerusalem’s central bus station on a daily basis (www.sviva.gov.il).

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