Environment Watch: Israel's first 'green' city

Kfar Saba is preparing to change the way its residents live.

By JERUSALEM POST STAFF STAFF
November 1, 2007 11:22
2 minute read.
kfar saba 88 224

kfar saba 88 224. (photo credit: )

 
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Kfar Saba is planning to become the first city in Israel to be recognized by the United Nations as a "green city," and has presented comprehensive plans that will affect every sphere of life in the municipality, reports the Hebrew weekly Yediot Hasharon. The city plans to win recognition from the UN's World Organization of Local Authorities, a body established in 2004 and made up of cities and towns in more than 127 countries. According to the report, Kfar Saba is planning a "green revolution," with a comprehensive plan for numerous short-term and long-term changes. In the near future, the city plans to change all street lights to energy-conserving bulbs, work with shopping centers to reduce the use of plastic bags, use recycled paper in all municipal offices, change municipal inspectors' uniforms to ones made of recycled material, encourage the use of "clean" energy, conceal electrical transformers underground and take other steps. In the long term, the city plans to create an environmentally-friendly farm on the agricultural land in the east of the city, check the possibility of using hybrid fuels in public transport, and introduce a pilot program for newspaper recycling that will see special bins placed around the city, much as bottle-collection bins are placed now. The report said the "jewel in the crown" will be Kfar Saba's new "green neighborhood" in the west of the city, the first in Israel to be built according to green guidelines that include improved thermal insulation and other measures designed to save electricity, solar power systems, water-saving equipment, a unique underground garbage removal system, and numerous pedestrian and bicycle paths. A municipal spokesman said that even though building work on the "green neighborhood" has not yet begun, demand for apartments in the project has been high. Kfar Saba mayor Yehuda Ben Hamo said it was also the city's intention to work with local businesses to encourage them to take steps toward improving the environment. The plan was put together by councilors, municipal officials and representatives from the Ministry of Environmental Protection. But at least one councilor was critical of the plan. Guy Ben Gal said that while on the one hand Ben Hamo was embracing the idea of Kfar Saba as a green city, on the other the municipality was dismissing a serious environmental problem in the continuing gas leak around the Golda elementary school, a problem that has affected students and residents living in the school's vicinity. Ben Gal said there was "an intolerable gap between words and deeds" in the city.

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