Environment Ministry threatensto slap fines on beach polluters

As the Environmental Protection Ministry launched a new campaign on Sunday to clean up the country's beaches, a Jerusalem Post reader from Amsterdam wrote in he was disgusted by the dirty beaches in Tel Aviv. Robert Heilbron, 61, said that while walking on Tel Aviv's Hilton Beach on his last day in the country - June 14 - he stood on a bent, dirty syringe, which had pierced the sole of his sandal. Heilbron received first-aid treatment from the beach lifeguard, but upon his return to Amsterdam, he immediately went to visit his doctor over concerns that he had contracted Hepatitis B or HIV. "At the same beach there are many tourists, Israeli children and youngsters playing every day," he wrote. "This incident can happen to anyone as long as the Tel Aviv authorities don't clean the beaches very carefully." Coincidentally, the Environmental Protection Ministry published a survey on Sunday indicating that 10 percent of the country's beaches are "dirty," 30% are "mediocre" and 60% are "clean to very clean." Among the dirty beaches listed by the ministry were the Kiryat Haim Beach in Haifa, the Caesarea Aqueduct Beach, the Sdot Yam Beach, the South Herzliya Beach, Hatzuk Beach in Tel Aviv and the Gan Raveh Beach. Due to these findings, it said, the ministry and the Nature Protection Authority were beginning a large-scale operation to clean the beaches. As part of the operation, inspectors would impose heavy fines on people caught polluting beaches. At the same time, garbage bags would be handed out to beachgoers in the framework of a public relations campaign against dirty beaches.