While there has been little change since last year in the number of times Israel's beaches have been closed because of sewage flowing into the sea, there has been a 65-percent drop since 2007, environmental organization Zalul wrote in a report released Tuesday.
The summary report of the 2009 swimming season was released ahead of the end of the season this weekend.
Beaches were closed 25 times this year, as opposed to 19 times last year. However, in 2007, there were 63 beach closings due to sea pollution. During the swimming season from April to October, there were 13 beach closures this year. Last year, there were 12.
However, as opposed to previous years, local authorities acted quickly this year to deal with the pollution and enable the beaches to be reopened, so each closure was on average just two days long, according to the report.
Nevertheless, during the winter some beaches were closed for long periods because of continued pollution. The beaches of Herzliya and Tel Aviv were closed for almost a month this winter because of a leak in the Ono Valley sewage pipe. Overall, the beaches were closed for 109 days - a new record, aided by the long closures during the winter.
Bat Yam's beaches were closed three times during the swimming season as a result of raw sewage flowing into the sea - the most of any beach.
Haifa's beaches were closed twice. The other 20 incidents were individual events spanning beaches on the Mediterranean, Lake Kinneret, the Dead Sea and Eilat.
Zalul credited the significant drop since 2007 to increased public pressure and awareness, spearheaded by the organization. To continue to raise awareness, Zalul, Bilabong and Adrenaline teamed up to make a five-minute infomercial about sea pollution.
It will be shown on large screens in public places around the country such as malls, the Aroma chain of stores, Bank Discount, IDF bases and post offices. The clip can be viewed online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=buCq2Mo3lDQ.