The Environmental Protection Ministry has refused
to extend Carmel Chemicals' license to handle hazardous chemicals
beyond Tuesday, the ministry announced Monday, because of its failure
to implement proper environmental practices at its factory in Atlit.
response to the imminent revocation of its license, the factory's
management has forced its 150 employees to take unpaid leave or start
eating into their vacation days, since without a license the factory
Carmel Chemicals, which produces amino molding compounds, has
been the subject of repeated ministry reprimands and inspections over
the last several months. As a result of a court decision, the factory
had agreed to take several steps to clean up its act.
However, according to the ministry, while the factory did drain
an evaporation pool, they did it in such a way that caused
environmental damage. Moreover, residents of the surrounding
communities complained of headaches and burning eyes apparently as a
result of gases released when the pool was drained, the ministry added.
During a surprise inspection last week, vast
quantities of hazardous chemicals and ammonia were discovered - far
above the amounts allowed under its license. The factory has also
failed to properly seal its production lines or install proper filters,
the ministry said.
The ministry deplored the factory's use of its employees in a
dispute "which has nothing to do with the employees themselves," and
said that while they were concerned with the loss of income the
employees would incur, the potential for severe environmental damage
and threat to the health of the surrounding communities in Atlit forced
They also took a jab at the factory's propaganda efforts.
"We deplore the fact that the factory's management is using its
employees and their incomes instead of investing in repair of the
environmental problems which were presented to them long ago," the
ministry said, in a statement.
The factory's management reportedly referred to the loss of its
license as a death sentence if it was not returned within two weeks'
time. They also said that the ministry's actions were inexplicable
since they were in the process of implementing all of the demands.
The ministry said that if Carmel Chemicals complied with its
demands, then there was no reason the license could not be reissued.
However, the factory's owner, Gil Dankner, had apparently been planning for such a contingency. Calcalist
reported that he plans to merge the factory with another one he owns in
the Haifa port and turn the land in Atlit into a residential complex.
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