To the satisfaction of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority (INPA), the Israel Lands Authority (ILA) has agreed to cease mining sands in the Samar region of the Arava Valley, the two agencies announced on Wednesday.
Although the sand mining taking place in the desert area has been occurring legally and all court proceedings to stop its occurrence have been rejected previously, the INPA been continued to lead a struggle against it since 2010. The INPA and other environmental organizations have long argued that the mining is destroying a variety of unique plant and animal species in an ecologically diverse space.
In the past, the Samar sands area encompassed about 7 sq. km., of which only about 1.9 sq. km. remains today, the INPA said.
Within that 1.9-sq.-km. plot, about 1.2 sq. km. is zoned as a nature reserve and another 0.7 sq. km. was blocked for sand mining. After mining, destroyed habitats can require dozens or even hundreds of years to be fully restored, the INPA added.