(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
After a law for asbestos removal and prohibition passed its second and third
Knesset readings this week, the Environmental Protection Ministry announced on
Monday that it had begun to implement a project of locating, cleaning up and
removing asbestos waste from the ground in Western Galilee.
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budget for the project is NIS 20 million, but the ministry estimates that it
will reach NIS 300m. during its five-year duration, the report said.
Eitanit company, whose former factory on the Nahariya coast was responsible for
asbestos accumulation beginning in the 1960s, will bear half the cost of the
project – up to the sum of NIS 150m. – according to the ministry.
first phase of the plan will involve evacuating the asbestos from public lands;
the next phase will include private areas as well.
“We are talking about
a project that saves lives,” said Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan
in a statement. “The new law, which forbids using asbestos, will prohibit the
use of a proven carcinogen. Any violation of this law will be considered a
“From now on, the law will be regulating the use of
asbestos and treating its associated hazards. In this way, public exposure to
known carcinogenic materials will be reduced.”
Among other stipulations,
the law will ban the use of any type of asbestos, while phasing out the existing
use of friable asbestos in industry and public buildings within 10 years, and in
IDF facilities within seven years, the ministry reported.
asbestos cement in public buildings will need to be properly maintained, and
those working with asbestos will have to receive proper
Building cement is the most common use for asbestos and the
fibers encapsulated in the cement do “not present a danger,” unless the cement
“crumbles, breaks or burns,” releasing the asbestos into the air, according to
In the case of the Eitanit factory, however, asbestos was
used for surfacing trails and paths, yards and parking areas.