Knesset asks for plan to fight garbage burning

MK Dov Henin requests Environmental Protection Ministry to prepare plan within three months to deal with people burning their garbage.

December 9, 2010 03:00
2 minute read.
Man burning trash [illustrative]

burning trash 311 AP. (photo credit: AP)

Knesset Health and Environment Committee chairman Dov Henin requested of the Environmental Protection Ministry on Wednesday to prepare a detailed plan within three months to deal with people burning their garbage.

Henin’s committee discussed the widespread phenomenon particularly in light of the Carmel forest fire over the weekend, since one of the possible causes of that blaze was someone losing control of a fire while burning garbage.

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There are no concrete statistics as to how widespread the phenomenon is, but according to Fire and Rescue Service data, anywhere between a third to two-thirds of fires in open spaces result from garbage fires, the committee was told.

Garbage fires present a number of environmental dangers in addition to the potential to lead to massive conflagrations.

Because those who burn garbage – primarily Arab villages and agricultural villages – do not discriminate, they burn items, like plastics and tires, whose combustion releases sorts of potentially poisonous materials, polluting the air and water as a result.

MK Rachel Adatto said the discussion was timely since one of the potential causes of the Carmel fire being investigated is garbage burning.

“The pirate landfills are an ecological and health disaster,” she added, “As one of the lessons of the Carmel fire, the pirate landfills must be eradicated and those who burn garbage must be punished. The interior and environmental protection ministers must intervene immediately and put an end to this hazard.”

However, Yoram Horovitz, deputy director-general for local authorities at the Environmental Protection Ministry, and Amir Levin, commander of the Green Police, told the committee that the ministry did not have the manpower to deal with all of the garbage fires.

Therefore, Henin asked the ministry to prepare a plan.

Henin said the ministry should work with the Agriculture Ministry and the local authorities as well. The plan should detail any needed legislative changes, and perhaps create a system of fines and administrative sanctions.

The plan should contain a budget, which should include a cost-benefit analysis of air monitors.

While some permits are issued to burn foliage, the plan should also reevaluate the issuing process for such permits.

Henin said the committee would convene again to discuss the plan once the ministry had drawn it up.

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