While Israelis’ attitudes toward disposing their trash has improved slightly,
littering on the countries nature reserves and open spaces still posed quite a
problem over the Passover vacation, according to Israel Nature and Parks
Authority (INPA) officials.
Those people who visited the country’s
national parks that require entrance fees were much less likely to leave their
litter behind than those who hiked through open spaces that are free of charge
and lack readily visible garbage collection facilities, the officials
Although INPA and Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund
(KKL-JNF) staff members have for a long time been working to educate the public
regarding trash pickup, there is much more campaigning that needs to be done,
“Once you pay entrance the public behaves differently than
they do in open spaces.
They know that the place is tidy and clean and
there are trash cans and the rangers are all over,” Hillel Glassman, head of the
INPA’s river monitoring unit and many of the organization’s cleanup projects,
told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday afternoon.
“Once the public goes out
into the open spaces, then the behavior is quite different unfortunately,” he
“If there’s some impression that Israelis are behaving better
regarding the garbage, I say, not yet.”
Omri Gal, spokesman for INPA,
said he would divide up the Israeli park-going population into two populations –
those who are barbecuing and picnicking in one site, all day, and those who are
traveling through open spaces. While those who are barbecuing generate a lot of
waste, they usually do so in paid venues where there are garbage cans – as well
as vigilant park rangers – all over the location, he explained.
wouldn’t dream of leaving barbecue garbage inside of a museum,” Gal
“There's something about paying.”
At these locations, parks
officials also readily approach and educate people about getting rid of their
“When we go around and speak with people we usually
choose people with kids,” Gal said, noting that these families are more likely
to clean up as to avoid being “embarrassed in front of their kids.”
know we have to come through the kids because they are the conscience,” he
Likewise, paid sites like these often contain cleanup crews that
pick up after people’s messes, and during Passover, these crews were cleaning
four to five times more per day than during regular days.
problematic than these visitors, however, are those traveling through the
country’s open spaces and nature reserves, where enforcement ability and
trashcan presence are both much more scattered.
Some improvement in
garbage collection has occurred among such traveling families and groups, as
they seem to be using trash bags, according to Glassman.
without a collection facility in site, these same travelers then simply leave
their bags on the ground.
“Then at nighttime the wild animals come along
and they look for the leftovers and tear open the bags and it’s thrown all
over,” Glassman said.
“I can’t say the Israelis are behaving better,”
Though not during Passover, the iris flowering period in
the open space of Gilboa presented huge problems for the INPA, Glassman
“Come and see what happens there on a Saturday when thousands of
people come and leave behind their garbage,” he said.
KKL-JNF, on the other hand, expressed a bit more satisfaction with the public’s
performance during the holiday period, reporting that while there were some
exceptions, most people tended to their garbage and kept their surroundings
Waste collection was enforced all throughout the KKL
parking lots and forest sites, and distributed garbage collection bags, the
KKL-JNF staff members evacuated about 750 tons of
waste from the organization’s sites during the holiday period, sometimes
emptying bins as many as two or three times per day, according to the
Quantities of garbage were large in comparison to previous years,
presumably because Hol Hamoed, the intermediate days of Passover, were spread
throughout the week, attracting greater numbers of travelers, KKL-JNF
In order to keep the country cleaner overall, more public awareness
campaigns through both the INPA and the Environmental Protection Ministry must
continue to occur, similar to the ministry’s initiative of fining beach
litterers, according to Glassman.
The INPA reported over 1.5 million
travelers visited national parks and nature reserve sites, enjoying sunny and
warm weather during their vacation days. Of these, about half a million took
part in special events and festivals taking place at various parks throughout
Among the top sites were Banias Nature Reserve, Tel Dan
Nature Reserve and Nahal Eyun Nature Reserve.
KKL-JNF reported more than
2 million tourists visiting their forests during Hol Hamoed, the largest amount
during a Passover period yet, according to the organization’s chairman, Efi
Stenzler. The most popular KKL sites were in the country’s North, particularly
in the Upper Galilee, southern Golan Heights, Gilboa and Carmel forest regions,
the organization said.
“We are pleased that the Israeli traveling public
proved again that when offering the Israeli family an added value, they prefer a
visit to the Banias over a visit to the mall and participation in festivals and
tours over watching television,” INPA head Shaul Goldstein said.
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