Jerusalem Affairs: Peggy Cidor's round-up February 7, 2020

By using the Atarot services, Jerusalem no longer sells waste to the Tamir company, which has an agreement with the ministry to buy waste prepared for recycling.

A PLASTIC bottle recycling cage in the Musrara neighborhood. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
A PLASTIC bottle recycling cage in the Musrara neighborhood.
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Recycling: Bin there, done that
Three months ago, the municipality significantly reduced the number of recycling containers for plastic bottles, paper and cardboard. The official reason was because they took up pedestrian space, but off the record, Environmental Administration officials acknowledge that this step is linked with the decision to send all waste to the Atarot recycling facility. Residents are not required to sort plastic, paper and organic garbage themselves, as the Atarot facility does this.
However, not all sides agree that this is the best solution. As a result of the change, Atarot’s recycling output is of poorer quality and the end product is less valuable, which translates into less income for the city. By using the Atarot services, Jerusalem no longer sells waste to the Tamir company, which has an agreement with the ministry to buy waste prepared for recycling. Due to the inferior quality of the garbage recycled at Atarot, Tamir is uninterested in buying it, and moreover, the Jerusalem municipality is losing a grant provided to cities that use this service.
The situation in the neighborhoods is unclear – since some 3,000 recycling containers are still around, many residents don’t know what is expected of them. Should they continue to sort from home or rely on the municipality’s recycling policy? Environmental activists express concern that even if the Atarot device does a proper job, the municipality is failing to encourage residents to make recycling their responsibility as well.
A municipality spokeswoman responded to In Jerusalem’s request for comment by noting that recycling containers have not been removed but rather replaced, in cases of damage or disruption to pedestrian egress. Residents are welcome to call the municipality at *106 to report any damage to or lack of a container.
Check on your neighbor
Jerusalem Magen David Adom issued a message earlier this week calling on residents to pay attention to lone senior neighbors. The call came after MDA teams found – for the fourth time since the beginning of the year – a body decaying. This time it was of a woman who lived alone in her apartment in Kiryat Menachem. The cold weather, various ailments, but above all, the lack of social ties and solitude of elderly people living alone result too often in tragedy.
“Pay attention to your lone and elderly neighbors and check on them if you don’t hear from them for more than a day or two” asked MDA in this special call, “so we can reduce the number of such sad occurrences.”
Travelers’ pet peeve
If you are planning to take your pet with you on a flight, be advised that as of this month, required permits that your cat or your dog is fit and permitted to travel on a flight are no longer available in the city. Jerusalemites (as well as other residents of areas in the region, such as Mevaseret Zion and Gush Etzion) will have to make their way the new veterinary offices in Beit Dagan (close to Tel Aviv) to get these forms required by law.
This is the result of a recent decision of the government, to make mandatory the presence of all auxiliary services of the ministries in the capital – except for the branches of the Agriculture Ministry. City councilman Arieh King (United Jerusalem) has issued a call to the recently appointed Minister Tzachi Hanegbi to change this decision and reverse the order to close the local branch of the service.
Man’s best friend
Dog owners in the Lev Ha’ir area (city center, Nahlaot and Mahaneh Yehuda) have reason to rejoice. Within a few weeks, four new parks for dogs will open: two in Sacher Park, one in the Nahlaot neighborhood and a training plot close to the Mishkenot Ha’Uma compound.
This is the result of an effort spearheaded by Dr. Ofir Lang, head of the Lev Ha’ir Local Council and his team, with the support of neighborhood activists, part of a larger plan to improve the quality of life in this part of the city. Lang praised the constructive cooperation between the council members and the municipality.
Ain’t misbehavin’
By law, city council meetings are open to the public. Residents are the true sovereign of Jerusalem, so is only natural that involved residents who care about the decisions that affect their lives would want to be present. However, mayors have always tried to reduce the impact of residents’ presence in the hall, arguing that unless they sit quietly, their presence is disruptive.
Initially, Mayor Moshe Lion welcomed the presence of the residents but the atmosphere between him and the seven members of the Hitorerut list (the opposition led by Ofer Berkovitch) has deteriorated so much that restrictions have been put in place. Residents who wish to come to the monthly meetings are required to register at the entrance, wear a tag, sit only in the upper sides of the hall and are not allowed to speak – neither between themselves nor with the municipality staff or the representatives. Signs, protests and dialogue with city council members are forbidden.
Nevertheless, Lion issued a clarification following the new restrictions, saying that he always welcomes all residents who wish to attend the meetings. Officially, all committee meetings are also open to the public – except for the meetings of the Finance Committee – but other than at the local planning and construction committee, resident attendance is rare.
City council meetings are held on the last Thursday of every month.