New Knesset subcommittee to address impact of environment on public health

The subcommittee will be headed by long-term climate advocate MK Prof. Alon Tal and will operate under the Health Committee headed by Idit Silman.

 View of the oil refineries of Haifa and the industrial area, on May 5, 2017 (photo credit: YANIV NADAV/FLASH90)
View of the oil refineries of Haifa and the industrial area, on May 5, 2017
(photo credit: YANIV NADAV/FLASH90)

The Knesset will establish a subcommittee to examine the impact that environment and climate have on public health, the Knesset Spokesperson announced on Tuesday afternoon, in honor of the Knesset’s Environmental Awareness Day.

The subcommittee will operate under the Health Committee headed by Idit Silman and will be chaired by MK Prof. Alon Tal.

Opening the committee discussion, Silman said that “environmental health interacts with public health time and time again. The dangers of toxic odors, improper treatment of sewage, landfills, contamination in the soil, and more, are complex and sensitive public issues.

 

"That is why today, we will establish a subcommittee on the impact of the environment and climate on public health, headed by MK Alon Tal.”

Tal is a long-term environmental activist, and the founder of Adam Teva V’din (Man, Nature and Law), one of Israel’s leading climate advocacy groups. He joined Benny Gantz’s Blue and White Party in 2019 and was sworn in as an MK for the first time in June as a result of the Norwegian Law.

Addressing the decision to create the subcommittee, Tal focused on the noticeable impact that environmental issues have had on public health.

"About 2,000 people have died as a result of air pollution in Israel alone, he said. "Worldwide, we are looking at six million. These are numbers higher than those of people who have died from the coronavirus, and now the risks and consequences of the climate crisis are also rising.”

Alon Tal (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)Alon Tal (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

The first discussion held by the committee focused on the issue of pollution and disease in the Haifa Bay Area, which has one of the highest pollution rates in the country, and higher cancer rates as a result.

“I have been dealing with this issue since my first lawsuit with Adam Teva V’din,” said Tal. “Thirty years later, morbidity rates in the area are still staggering. The mandate of the subcommittee is to address precisely these urgent and critical issues so that public health does not suffer as a result of procrastination."