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A beduin Umm Batin resident uses the HomeBioGas system..(Photo by: MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION)
Waste, recycling system for Beduin communities to be inaugurated this week
By SHARON UDASIN
11/09/2014
Up until recently, about 40,000 Beduin community members in the region – which spreads from Beersheba to Arad –have lived without trash cans and proper waste disposal systems.
Marking the first time that the state is funding waste collection from the country’s Beduin villages, Environmental Protection Ministry officials will inaugurate a waste treatment and recycling system for El-Kasum Regional Council on Tuesday.

Until recently, about 40,000 Beduin community members in the region – which spreads from Beersheba to Arad – have lived without trash cans and proper waste disposal systems. As a result, residents turned to burning trash, a phenomenon the Environment Ministry has deemed more polluting than the emissions of all Ramot Hovav factories combined.

Since the beginning of his term a year-and-ahalf ago, environmental protection minister Amir Peretz, who resigned Sunday, has ordered the investment of tens of millions of shekels to provide communities lacking waste infrastructure with viable solutions, the ministry said. Creating an “environmental revolution” in Beduin communities has been a critical component of these investments, the ministry said.

As part of the so-called revolution, the residents of Umm Batin, a village just northeast of Beersheba, began to experience modern waste treatment about a month and a half ago. At the end of September, they received HomeBioGas units produced by Ecogas Israel, whose NIS 8,000 price tag for each unit was subsidized by the ministry. Within the machines, anaerobic digesters convert kitchen waste and animal manure into usable cooking gas and liquid fertilizer – optimized for off-grid urban and rural use, according to the company.

While Umm Batin has been recognized since Israel’s establishment, the town had no proper waste collection system for its citizens.

After learning from the government about the installation of the units in Umm Batin, the Dominican Republic decided to purchase 50 of these facilities for its own villages, the ministry said. Following the earthquake that devastated much of Haiti, the phenomenon of deforestation grew in both Haiti and the Dominican Republic, due to the need for wood heating.

Based on the results of the 50-unit pilot program, the Caribbean island will decide whether to purchase more HomeBioGas units, the ministry said.
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