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Residents demand action against polluting factories
Miriam Bulwar David-Hay (Translated)
02/05/2008
"The facts speak for themselves," a residents' spokeswoman said. "The air in the bay is polluted in a way that harms the public."
Hundreds of Haifa Bay residents took to the streets in a public demonstration last week following news reports that large quantities of carcinogenic and suspected carcinogenic chemicals had been found in the air above the bay, according to the Hebrew weekly Yediot Haifa. The demonstrators demanded that immediate action be taken against offending factories, saying that residents' lives are being endangered with every breath they take. Last week, the newspaper reported that air quality surveys done in the bay area in June and September last year had found worrying quantities of known carcinogens such as benzene and formaldehydes, as well as of suspected carcinogens such as chloroform. According to this week's report, a committee from the Ministry for Environmental Protection and from the Interior Ministry met to discuss the findings, and has decided to "invite" 11 factories suspected of causing the pollution for discussions. The committee also plans to conduct another air quality survey later this month. "The facts speak for themselves," a residents' spokeswoman said. "The air in the bay is polluted in a way that harms the public." She called on Mayor Yona Yahav to act immediately against polluting factories, and to stop allowing exemptions and waivers. "Every minute that residents breathe this polluted air their lives are being placed in danger," the spokeswoman said. A spokesman from the Ministry for Environmental Protection said the 11 suspect factories - which include the Haifa Oil Refineries, Dor Chemicals, Paz Oils and Chemicals, and the Frutarom fragrance factory - have been asked to test their emissions, and will be invited in to the ministry over the next few weeks. The spokesman said it was possible that the ministry would need to "toughen up" its demands on them.
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