air pollution 390.
(photo credit: Thinkstock)
Adam Teva V’Din (Israel Union for Environmental Defense) and the Coalition for
Public Health submitted a petition to the High Court on Sunday morning to compel
the government to confirm the national air program to prevent air pollution,
which the Clean Air Law mandated must occur by January 1, 2012.
advocacy group Adam Teva V’Din, along with the Environmental Protection
Ministry, prepared a comprehensive national air pollution prevention program,
but despite the efforts of both bodies, the cabinet has not brought the program
to a vote, according to the group.
While the Clean Air Law passed in the
Knesset in 2008, it stipulated that the government must approve an air pollution
plan by January of this year. The Adam Teva V’Din and Coalition for Public
Health petition stresses that the Environmental Protection Ministry completed
its tasks well before deadline, but that the government is failing to bring the
program to the table “for unknown reasons,” the organization said.
government’s failure to approval the national program for reducing air pollution
is unreasonable and constitutes an infringement of the rule of law, as this is
in violation of the Clean Air Law,” the petition reads, adding that human health
may also be violated by not implementing this solution. “It is known that
environmental quality has a direct influence on man’s right to life.”
petition also highlights how passing the national air pollution prevention
program will save the economy a lot of money – about NIS 1.5 billion – in health
expenses that result from air pollution, while the government will only have to
invest NIS 690 million in the program.
“As one of the entities who wrote
and advanced the Clean Air Law for eight years, Adam Teva V’Din has the duty to
act with insistence against the violation of Israel’s Clean Air Law,” Adam Teva
V’Din Executive Director Amit Bracha said in a statement released by his office.
“It is important to understand that because of the powerlessness of the
government, which is not approving the national air pollution prevention
program, millions of residents of the State of Israel are being exposed to
diseases and even to death as a result of air pollution.”
Also on Sunday,
the city of Tel Aviv-Yafo reported that its air pollution has been drastically
improving, with 80 percent reductions in the last decade.
The city has
seen sharp drops in measured concentrations of nitrous oxides, as well as
particulate matter, according to the municipality. Five years ago, Tel Aviv-Yafo
was the first city in the country to create a strategic plan for reducing air
pollution, which was prepared in cooperation with the Environmental Protection
Tel Aviv-Yafo Mayor Ron Huldai said he hopes this trend of
improved air quality will continue, and that the Transportation Ministry will
support his idea of limiting polluting vehicle movement through the city’s