Industrialized Haifa Bay, the potential ‘Israeli Riviera,’ seen from the lower slopes of Hadar.
(photo credit: WENDY BLUMFIELD)
While the industrial pollution in Haifa’s bayside has recently hit the headlines, this is not a new phenomenon for the residents of this northern city.Over 40 years ago, studies conducted by Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center – about lead in the bloodstreams of children living near local industries – showed far higher levels in those living in the bayside suburbs and on the eastern side of the Carmel overlooking these industries. It was significant that these neighborhoods were among the less expensive ones and therefore more likely to be inhabited by young families with small children. (The medical center’s maternity department found no evidence of another reported phenomenon, however – that babies born in this area have smaller heads.) Plans to monitor the air, clear the effluent and clean the installations at these offending industries have led to little improvement, with citizens also aware of the potential hazards of the fuel and chemical storage facilities – which are vulnerable to natural disasters as well as acts of terror.