Thursday, October 24, 2013

Blog 7: West Bank Charcoal Pollution

 Residents in the communities of Kibbutz Metzer and Mitzpe Ilan are experiencing heavy pollution from nearby charcoal factories in the northern part of West Bank in Israel. A few weeks ago, the Environmental Protection Administer Amir Peretz, Health Minister Yael German, and Agriculture Minister Yair Shamir received were implored to take action against the heavy pollution caused by charcoal fires.  The Sharon-Carmel Association for Towns of Environmental Protection evaluated the pollution problem in the area based on numerous complaints from residents. One resident complained that "the house is filled with the unbearable smell of smoke and chemicals". Shutting windows and placing towels under the doors hasn't provided noticeable alleviation from the heavy charcoal fumes of the last couple of days. Experts reported that the high charcoal pollution is "a nuisance and a danger". Residents of Kibbutz Metzer and Mitzpe Ilan have demanded that the raw materials from Israeli farms that are causing the pollution not be sold to charcoal factories. Despite efforts to stop the pollution, charcoal factories in the area maintain the same production rate and pollution levels have not changed.

The residents of the West Bank neighborhoods have dealt with suffocating charcoal-filled air that fills their homes and roads. The Environmental Protection Ministry is answering the complaints by setting up inspectors in the West Bank area to regulate the pollution. Because charcoal pollution has been observed to be caused by wood from pruned trees, the Environmental Protection Ministry inspectors will work to prevent the transfer of these trees to the charcoal factories. Over the past few weeks of complaints and demands from the IDF's Civil Administration to the West Bank factories to stop polluting, the lack of change has lead the people living in that area to take more drastic measures. The effort has apparently paid off, now that they have received attention and support from government ministries whose sole aims are the environment and health. Even the experts of the Sharon-Carmel Association of Towns for Environmental Protection have seen the devastating effects the charcoal pollution has on the neighborhoods. It is not fair for the residents near the West Bank to live in heavily-polluted environment, even when the factories have been made aware of it weeks ago. The prevention of pruned trees being sold to charcoal factories will reduce the pollution significantly. Restrictions on the amount of fumes from the factories could become a possibility in the future if pollution continues to be an issue, but for now a positive and workable solution has been found.

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