‘Many ministries failed to meet goals of green campaign’

Environmental Protection Ministry files first report on efforts to make gov’t offices more eco-friendly.

Netanyahu, Gilad Erdan 311 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Netanyahu, Gilad Erdan 311
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Five government ministries have failed to come close to meeting targets to reduce their environment footprints, it was revealed on Sunday.
The Ministries of Defense, Agriculture, Tourism, Regional Cooperation, and Development of the Negev and Galilee fared the worst in the Environmental Protection Ministry’s first report evaluating government offices’ resource consumption and environmental preservation measures, the ministry said on Sunday.
Starting in December 2009, the Environmental Protection Ministry began setting reduction targets for consumption of water, electricity, paper, bottles and cans, as well as goals for increased use of recycled materials – all to decrease environmental destruction, increase government efficiency and save public funds, the ministry said in a statement.
Since then, ministry staff were able to examine each office’s consumption data and thereafter draft efficiency plans to enable improvements.
Within every ministry – aside from Strategic Affairs and the Public Diplomacy and Diaspora ministries – green teams have also been working with the deputy director-generals as well as the Environment Ministry to implement data collection procedures and to achieve sustainability within each ministry, the report said.
“For the first time, the government is providing an example for the public,” Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan said in a statement.
“The government is taking responsibility and is implementing in its offices what the public is asking for – small but significant changes in daily conduct that have already been proven to save energy and public funds.”
One of the main difficulties faced by the ministries was measuring their consumption of water and electricity, due to varying agreements with the various landlords renting facilities to the government, according to the Environment Ministry, which hopes to rectify this problem with the help of the Government Housing Administration in the Accountant- General’s Office of the Finance Ministry.
While five offices performed particularly badly, four also did particularly well, achieving three or more of their initial target goals: the Ministries of Finance, Environmental Protection, Justice, Transportation and Public Security.
The greening program also brought significant advancements in environmental consciousness to the courts in Lod and Ashkelon, as well as in city halls in Nazareth and elsewhere.
The office will be distributing “green government kits” to all ministries, which include a variety of instruments for saving and recycling, including recycling bins, stickers for air conditioning and electricity switches, and collection containers for beverage containers, used batteries and e-waste, all made in Israel and all to be delivered in a diesel truck that meets Euro 5 emission standards, the ministry said.
“The campaign that was launched today is an additional measure to raise awareness about saving resources by state employees,” Erdan added. “We will continue to assist government offices to reach their reduction targets and will publish how the ministries are saving public funds and resources.”
At the beginning of the morning’s weekly cabinet meeting, where Erdan officially presented the findings, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu praised his office’s efforts toward greening the environment.
“You certainly paid attention to the exhibit out in the corridor on Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan’s implementation of the government plan to involve government ministries in the recycling revolution,” Netanyahu told the ministers, according to his spokesman. “Each one of you is invited to take a bin for glass and for plastic – and everyone can recycle on his own. I commend the Environmental Protection Ministry for this action.”