The Jerusalem Municipality refused at the beginning of the week to comply with
an order from the Environmental Protection Ministry to reduce the amount of
waste it sends to the Abu Dis landfill, saying trucking garbage to landfills in
the South would force the city to slash the education, culture, and social
welfare budgets by NIS 60 million.
Environmental Protection Minister
Gilad Erdan said the Abu Dis landfill was “polluting the environment and risking
the outbreak of fires or even explosions,” due to inadequate and outdated
infrastructure at the dump.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat sent a letter to
Erdan on Sunday, stating the municipality’s refusal to limit the amount of trash
going to Abu Dis from the current 1,100 tons per day to the 750 tons per day
required by the ministry’s new standards. Abu Dis is located just outside of the
municipality border between the East Talpiyot neighborhood and Ma’aleh
Erdan said he was “simply shocked” by the mayor’s letter, and
that the municipality has known for a decade that Abu Dis needed to be phased
“To my regret, you have chosen the easy way and are opposing any
change, and will continue to justify pollution to the environment due to
financial difficulties,” Erdan said in a letter of response to the mayor. He
faulted the municipality for refusing to address the problem years ago and not
beginning to implement cost-saving methods, such as trash separation at the
source or composting.
Erdan had asked the Finance Ministry for an
additional NIS 24m. to help Jerusalem deal with the increased cost of trucking
the waste to the South. But the municipality estimates sending its waste South
would cost an additional NIS 83m. over the first three years.
accept the position that we must start diverting the landfill from Abu Dis
before solving the issue of funding,” the mayor said in his letter to
Jerusalem pushed off for 60 days the ministry’s directive to
reduce the amount of trash destined for Abu Dis, during which time it will try
to resolve the difficulty with the Environmental Protection Ministry. If no
agreement is reached, the city is considering legal action.
the ministry’s decisions, the amount of waste coming in to Abu Dis is to be
reduced in mid- June to 1,000 tons daily (750 from Jerusalem), in October to 650
tons (400 from Jerusalem), and in April to 300 tons (zero from Jerusalem). The
capital produces approximately 1,100 tons of garbage each day.
last threatened to cut the education, social welfare, and culture budgets in
February, when the Knesset was wavering over the “Jerusalem Rule,” under which a
yearly grant of hundreds of millions of shekels is made to the
Barkat restored the budgets after the Prime Minister’s Office
and the Finance Ministry agreed to pay NIS 210m. for the next two years.