sea pollution 88.
(photo credit: )
The Acre and Haifa bays, Tel Aviv-Dan Region, Palmahim and Ashdod have the highest levels of sea pollution, according to the Zalul Environmental Association's map for 2008 released on Monday.
Herzliya and Nahariya were removed from the blacklist this year because they installed high quality waste treatment facilities. This is the second year that Zalul has posted a yearly summary in map form on its Web site.
The map does not detail illegal flows, but rather places where pumping with a permit still pollutes the sea. The map shows exactly which plants pump waste water into the sea and which permits they hold.
High concentrations of heavy metals, organic compounds, oil and fats, ammonia pesticides and other harmful substances were flushed out to the sea, according to Zalul's report. Many of those substances are potentially carcinogenic for humans at higher doses and toxic for marine animal and plant life as well. About 55 million cubic meters of waste water is sent to the sea each year, the researchers wrote.
Zalul's efforts in 2007 convinced the Environmental Protection Ministry to list all of the permits on its own Web site. In late 2008, Zalul executive director Yariv Abramovich was asked to join the Permit Committee.
The figures in the report are based on what was allowed according to the permits, and not actual amounts, since that information is not publicly available. Furthermore, the map only lists hot spots and trouble spots along the Mediterranean coast, even though the ministry also allows pumping into the Red and Dead seas.
"The information presented is intended to help decision-makers to focus their efforts to reduce pollution and protect the public's health, as well as to reveal the important information about how many substances were allowed to flow into the sea," Zalul deputy director Ezer Fischler said in a statement.
"When thousands of tons of polluting substances flow into the sea every year, rigorous and professional monitoring is a must. Any recommendation to do away with such monitoring represents a threat to public health and a death sentence for the sea environment," Fischler said.
According to the organization, the ministry has recently considered cutting back its monitoring efforts.
The interactive map in English with explanations can be found at: www.zalul.org/en/zmap/default.htm.