'Fewer pollutants dumped by permit into sea'

Fewer pollutants dumped

Fewer tons of heavy metals, organic compounds and ammonia were approved for dumping into the sea in 2009 than in 2008, the Zalul environmental association announced Wednesday. The water watchdog NGO released its third annual Pollution Centers Map which shows where companies have permits to dump their treated waste into streams which flow into the sea. The organization cited five major centers of dumping: the Acre Gulf, the Haifa Gulf, Tel Aviv-Dan Region, Palmahim and Ashdod. The map only tracks dumping permits for the Mediterranean Sea even though the interministerial committee for permits also issues them for the Dead Sea and the Red Sea. Permits for heavy metal dumping went from 114 tons last year to 101 tons this year. Organic pollutants went from 93,000 tons to 81,558 tons, and ammonia dropped from 224 tons in 2008 to 155.46 tons in 2009. There were also two fewer permits granted in 2009 than in 2008 - from 112 to 110. The organization stressed that the numbers in its map reflected the number of tons granted by the permit and not the actual amounts which were released into the waterways. According to new regulations which the organization successfully fought for recently, companies will have to publish in the newspapers and on the Environmental Protection Ministry Web site the actual amounts they dumped. The map, which can be found at http://www.zalul.org.il/zalul-map09/default.htm, lists each company that was granted a permit.