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TA odor complaints cease; cause still unknown
By SHARON UDASIN AND JPOST.COM STAFF
03/05/2012
Environmental Ministry says no harmful chemical, pollutant levels are found in air; soil disinfectant ruled out as source of smell.
 
The Environmental Protection Ministry on Thursday denied a report from Home Front Command saying that drilling was the source of a mysterious chemical smell in the Tel Aviv region.

"We are not dealing with rumors," the spokesman said. "There is no gas drilling in Nitzanim. The army is just saying it."

The Ministry said it stopped receiving complaints about a chemical smell in the Tel Aviv area Thursday evening. Tests it conducted revealed no hazardous concentrations of chemicals or pollutants in the air but said testing would continue in order to identify the source of the odor with absolute certainty.

In tests the ministry already carried out, a spokesman said, it appeared the odor was not caused by a soil disinfection process taking place at Hakfar Hayarok near the Glilot Junction in the north of Tel Aviv.

The IDF's Home Front Command said earlier that the chlorine-like smell was the result of drilling near the Nitzanim area, Army Radio reported.

Residents in the Gush Dan region complained to local authorities earlier  Thursday of a sharp, chemical smell in the air.

Tel Aviv Police said no injuries were reported as a result of the chlorine smell.

Chairman of the Joint Committee for Health and Environment MK Dov Henin (Hadash) demanded that the authorities urgently identify the source of the smell and take the necessary steps to protect the public.

"This is further proof that we must act meticulously and carefully on environmental issues when dealing with actions that could endanger the environment and public health," Henin said.

He added that he regretted the government was going in the opposite direction: "Instead of advancing a green path, it is making it easier to drill for gas and oil in the sea and beaches."

Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report.
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