From the issue of air pollution in the localities of Sodom Square, to the landfill project that deals with the sewage treatment in Ein Bokek. Neri Erely, chairman of the EPC provides an environmental picture of problematic areas in the region.

The Tamar communities face significant ecological challenges early in the mornings and in the evenings, for a few reasons: The geographical location of the localities in a desert environment, the especially high temperatures during the summer season, and the Dead Sea area which contains countless unusual geological and environmental phenomena.

All of these make the environmental struggles (which have unique characteristics) of the residents here particularly trying.

In light of the various issues that need to be addressed by the council officials, the chairman of the Environmental Protection Committee and a member of the council chamber, Neri Erely, provides an environmental picture while addressing some of the recurring ecological problems that are of concern to the local residents.

Air monitoring in Sodom Square

“The problem of air pollution often preoccupies us in the localities of Sodom Square and the Dead Sea Works area” Erely clarifies. “While in other areas of the municipality the situation is plausible, the Sodom area anomalies have been discovered with regard to the air quality.  This has been a somewhat controversial issue for some time, with the explanation being that it is mainly chimney emissions (from the Dead Sea Works) as well as sandstorms that often frequent our area.  The main difficulty is in the field of respiratory particles and not necessarily the chemicals emitted into the air.

Our goal is to create a situation whereby there are no emissions of particles that originate from the factory that have the potential to endanger the lives of the residents of Ein Tamar and Neot HaKikar (Sodom Square).  The health of the residents is of utmost importance to us and, therefore, my committee members and I are working tirelessly and comprehensively on the issue of air monitoring.  We will continue to fight for three points in the area to be able to measure air pollution.  These areas; Lot, Ashalmim and Sodom will be connected to the internet, so that any resident who detects odor or suffers from breathing difficulties can receive accurate data online 24 hours a day.”

Underground rubbish containers

The project of placing buried bins was considered as one of the council's main environmental goals over the past year.  This came about as a result of many years of dealing with the plague of flies and mosquitoes in the communities of Sodom Square. After an in-depth examination and understanding that in addition to the main treatment of agricultural waste, household waste should also be treated, which is also a source of fly and mosquito fertilization.   It was decided to embark on a project of burying waste underground.

“Recently, the landfill waste has begun to be separated into two streams,” says Erely, “Bins for packaging waste have been placed throughout the neighbourhoods, in accordance with the ‘Packaging Laws’ and bins for organic waste will go to the landfills. Unfortunately, due to lack of manpower and space the separation is still not running smoothly and all the waste is being mixed and not disposed of in an environmental fashion.  The Committee for the Protection of the Environment operates out of a desire to implement a policy of separation at source which will include the construction of specialized waste station being built in the area.”

Ein Bokek Sewage Treatment Plant

We do have a responsibility to ensure that the hotel complex at Ein Bokek (on the shores of the Dead Sea), take the subject of the environment more seriously.  “There has been a significant improvement in the hotel management recently and responsible disposal of the Spa pool water, which contains saline sulphur water and damages pipes, is now being carried out – the water is sent directly out to sea rather than being emptied out into the sewer.   

Looking forward to the future

Erely points out that the main challenge facing the Environmental Protection Commission is, of course, the particularly hot and challenging summer season. ''This is a period when large-scale harvesting is taking place in the palm groves, so it is reasonable to expect that a large wave of mosquitoes and flies will be seen in the lead up to September. The council is preparing to prevent this wave through spraying, drainage, ongoing work with farmers and local communities’ committees. We will continue to work continuously to address important issues for the quality of life and health of the residents of the Tamar Regional Council. "

Top Picture: Watermelon field, southern Tamar region.

Bottom Picture: Date planatation at Ein Gedi.

Date Harvest August 2020 1.jpe


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