Beach pollution 311.
(photo credit: .)
Factories should be forced to build their own wastewater treatment plants rather
than use regional ones, Citizens for the Environment in the Galilee (CFE) argue
in their latest report on factories in the north.
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The second annual
report was released for publication on Sunday morning.
consistency of a factory’s wastewater often leads the treatment plant to buckle
under the strain of processing it, Liora Amitay, co-head of CFE said late last
week ahead of the report’s release.
“A few years ago, the Acre wastewater
treatment plant was put out of commission for eight months because of the fats
from a factory,” she said by way of illustration.
“The Acre regional
plant processes 16,000 cubic meters a day. The Strauss factory produces 1,000 of
those cubic meters all by itself. Of course, Strauss is just illustrative of all
of the factories,” she added.
CFE’s reports take a close look at northern
factories to determine how environmentally friendly they are. The first report
last year looked at 25 factories. This year, the report examined 19 factories,
two wastewater treatment plants and a hospital.
The report’s two other
main conclusions were that most of the factories do not even meet the basic
standards set down in their business licenses and that medical pharmaceutical
residue in the water supply was an issue that must begin to be addressed in
The Environmental Protection Ministry inserts specific standards
for each factory to adhere to into its business license. CFE found that
regarding air pollution and wastewater, the factories surveyed largely did not
meet the criteria.
Either they violated the standards, or did not conduct
the requisite number of tests or did not report as they should have to
Many of the standards of the business license were not
updated properly and were not as relevant as they should be to the current
conditions of the factory, according to the report.
“One factory has an
ammonia container less than 50 meters from a residential area in Acre. While it
may have been that the factory was far away from residential areas when it was
built, the city has expanded and now it is right next to a neighborhood. An
ammonia container is extremely dangerous – what would happen if it exploded?”
CFE also graded the factories in terms of adherence to
standards and willingness to assist in the assessment. The worst marks were
given to the Strauss ice cream factory in Acre. In 2010, the factory was still
polluting the air – though far less than it had in 2008 – and its wastewater
treatment was vastly insufficient in 2008 and 2009. The factory’s management
refused to assist the NGO and refused to respond to the report’s findings when
the NGO asked for a response.
In general, Amitay said, there had been two
major improvements since the first report came out last year. First, she said,
the Environmental Protection Ministry has been making much more information
available online. An amendment to the Freedom of Information Act passed this
past year, after much lobbying by CFE, requiring government agencies and
ministries to publish environmental data online.
Second, many of the
factories were much more responsive to the organization’s requests for
During a press tour of some of the factories on Thursday,
Amitay said that they were greeted by the factory heads themselves.
used to be that factory heads had no interest in environmental matters. They
would appoint an expert and then forget about the issue.
Now, the factory
heads take an interest themselves and refer to environmental issues as ‘the core
values of the factory.’” The Evron landfill received the highest marks. The
standards set for it were acceptable, it adhered to them for the most part, and
gave the NGO full access to documentation and a tour of the site.
report concluded by calling for more enforcement by the Environmental Protection
Ministry and called on the factories to install best available technologies for
preventing air pollution and treating wastewater and not wait for the government
to crack down on them before taking action.
An English executive summary
will be made available later this week, Amitay said.The report in Hebrew
is available online at: https://sites.google.com/site/industrycfe2/