Local authorities blasted for polluting water sources

The Environmental Protection Ministry harshly criticized local authorities all over the country on Monday for illegally dumping construction waste which threatens Israel's water sources. The ministry categorically stated that it was the local authorities' responsibility to ensure that waste from construction sites was disposed of properly. Instead, over 90 percent has been dumped in open spaces, and on the side of roads, the ministry charged. Last month, Ben-Shemen Forest rangers found over 200 tons of waste dumped in the forest. According to the ministry, such illegal dumping damages "water sources both above and below ground, pollutes the ground, lowers its value, encourages fires and air pollution, damages open areas, hurts residents of the local authorities and limits the development potential in the local authorities." The ministry released a list of 86 local authorities in which there was some damage to the pools of Lake Kinneret or other water sources. They ranked the local authorities as to whether the damage was irreparable, fixable, affected the Kinneret, was a negligible water source or no damage at all. Local authorities all over the country were deemed to have allowed significant damage including: Metulla, Kiryat Shmona, Jerusalem, Ma'aleh Adumim - E1, Modi'in Illit, Ein Yahav, and Mesuot Yitzhak. More northern local authorities were listed than any other, with the south coming in second. Five local authorities in Haifa were cited as well as eight in Jerusalem and the center. Ksaifa in the south was the only local authority listed as not having any damage to the water sources in its area. There are around 250 local authorities in Israel.