Aiming to curb a lucratively malodorous phenomenon
of trash smuggling from Israel into the West Bank, a new Environmental
Protection Ministry unit is now on guard to enforce such illegal
activity – for the first time in 46 years.
Beginning this week, the new Environment Ministry
unit has been situated along border crossing areas in order to prevent
the massive waste transfers, from which debris often ends up in pirate
West Bank landfills. The trash filling these pirate landfills pollutes
both the soil and the water in the area, with a complete disregard for
the surrounding environment and residents of the region, the Environment
In addition to the pollution that seeps into the
ground and water from pirate piles of trash, the region also faces a
severe problem of air pollution as a result of smuggling. Israeli
farmers often sell wood chips to middlemen interested in transporting
them over the border, after which the recipients burn the wood chips
As a result, clouds of contaminated soot rise from
the burning waste and harm the lives of residents in nearby urban areas –
in Palestinian villages and even across the Green Line in Pardes Hanna,
Binyamina and Zichron Yaakov, according to the Environment Ministry.
However, because the trash burning occurs in Area B, Israel has no
authority to stop the process, the ministry explained.
"This week we begin a struggle without compromise
against the insufferable ease with which the territories beyond the
Green Line have become a city of refuge for environmental offenders,"
said Environmental Protection Minister Amir Peretz. "These offenders
pollute indiscriminately and only due to greed, while all of the
pollutants return like a boomerang to the State of Israel through water
sources, predominantly by way of streams, and through air pollution,
predominantly by way of soot."
In the first stage of its activity, the
Environmental Protection Ministry's new unit has appointed 10 inspectors
who received training by both the ministry and by the Civil
Administration, the ministry explained. Another three inspectors will
join the unit in the next stage.
The inspectors are authorized to prevent the
entrance of waste that has not received prior approval from the required
government bodies, the ministry said. For example, the unit members
will now be able to stop, delay and confiscate any illegal waste on its
way to Judea and Samaria, as well as initiate legal proceedings against
the offenders. Their responsibilities apply to all types of waste,
including construction debris, agricultural waste, wood and hazardous
materials, the ministry explained.
All activity of the new unit will occur in
partnership with and under the supervision of the Civil Administration,
the Environment Ministry said. Managing the unit will be environmental
staff officer Beni Elbaz, the district manager for Judea and Samaria,
Gaza and the border crossings.
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