Vehicle pollution on the rise

The amount of pollution from factories & industry in Haifa is decreasing, but the amount of pollution from motor vehicles is rising.

The amount of pollution from factories and industry in Haifa is decreasing, but the amount of pollution from motor vehicles is rising, a conference at the Technion has been told. Senior officials said they feared that vehicles would become the main source of pollution in the city if something was not done urgently to increase the availability and use of public transport, reports Yediot Haifa. According to the report, an official from the Municipal Union for Environmental Protection said the main reason for the increased vehicle pollution was the constantly increasing number of vehicles. But she said not all vehicles were the same - while trucks and commercial vehicles accounted for 14 percent of traffic in the city, they accounted for more than 70% of vehicle emissions. The conference heard that three main public transport alternatives are being considered as a solution to the pollution problem: a light rail system for the city center, a commercial cable-car project for the mountain, and a neighborhood bus line that uses mini-buses in residential streets. Meanwhile, the first stage of Haifa's planned light rail project was inaugurated last week in Rehov Ha'atzma'ut in the presence of Transport Minister Shaul Mofaz, the newspaper said. But the ceremony was marred by a demonstration by store-owners against the amount of municipal taxes they are being charged. According to the report, the inaugurated 800-meter stretch of rail, which cost NIS 10 million and took 10 months to construct, is the first stage in the planned 25-km light-rail project that will run from Kiryat Motzkin to the Bat Galim neighborhood of Haifa. The entire project is slated for completion in 2010.