Israel's Nature and Parks authority announced on Wednesday that along with around 2,000 volunteers they have so far cleaned over 70 tons of toxic tar from Israel's beaches since a massive oil spill contaminated over 195 kilometers of the country's shores last week.
While 70 tons may seem like a large amount, the Environmental Protection Ministry (EPM) estimates that around 1.2 kilotons (1,200 tons) of tar has so far washed ashore since the spill, with additional stains of oil expected to hit Israel's northern shores in the coming days.
The EPM on Wednesday released an interactive map which tracks the current level of pollution at every beach in the country that was affected by the spill.
The map is based on a "traffic light" model, with red pins marking beaches which have not yet been cleaned at all, or have not had their more rocky areas cleaned yet.
Orange pins signify beaches which are in their initial cleaning stages, yellow pins indicate beaches with low pollution levels, or beaches which are in the advanced stages of cleaning, while green pins mark beaches with very light pollution levels.
A quick glance at the map shows that the situation along Israel's northern coastline is much more dire than in its southern beaches, with most green pins appearing below the beaches of Hadera.
This is likely due to the greater difficulty in cleaning tar from rocky areas, which are significantly more common along the northern beaches of Israel.
Environmental Protection Minister Gila Gamliel said in a situation assessment on Wednesday saying that "This is a very complex investigation, most of which is taking place outside the territory of the State of Israel. Since we do not have the legal authority to stop ships outside our maritime territory, we have been cooperating with international bodies on the issue."
So far, the investigation has narrowed the list of potential culprits to ten different oil tankers which could have been responsible for the oil spill, and are awaiting results of chemical tests to determine which ship's oil matches the tar which hit Israel's beaches.
"The serious environmental event is a wake-up call for all of us to accelerate the use of renewable and alternative energies and abandon the use of polluting fossil fuels," Minister Gamliel added. "If we do not do this soon - we will increase the risk of further events in the future."
She emphasized the importance of her announced plan to transfer Israel's entire energy infrastructure to depend on 100% renewable energy sources by 2050.
However, environmental activists have criticized her plan as being unambitious, noting that the emissions goal for 2030 is not only lower than more ambitious proposals such as the US' Green New Deal, but is actually lower than the minimum standard for emissions stipulated in the Paris Accords.