Israel’s beaches hit be worst ecological disaster in decades

February 22, 2021 by Aryeh Savir - TPS
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170km of Israel’s 190km coast were covered with tar and damaged in an ecological disaster in the past few days, the worst environmental disaster in decades.

Photo: Gideon Markowicz/TPS

Solid and semi-solid tar from an unknown source covered the majority of Israel’s beaches. It is estimated that a ship dumped hundreds of tons of tar that was brought over to the beaches by the massive winter storm last week.

Dead marine animals have been washing up on Israel’s beaches, including a 17-meter baby fin whale.

Minister of Environmental Protection Gila Gamliel stated Friday that the event is “of a magnitude we have not seen in years, and the ecological and biological damage caused by it can still not be assessed.”

Israel is “doing everything to find the responsible party for the destruction of the beaches and the severe damage to the environment,” she said.

Israel is in contact with the Regional Marine Pollution Emergency Response Centre for the Mediterranean Sea (REMPEC) and the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA).

This form of pollution requires people to move across the beaches and separate the tar from the sand by hand.

Chief of the General Staff LTG Aviv Kohavi has ordered the IDF to dispatch thousands of IDF soldiers who will assist in mapping and cleaning affected areas.

Israel’s Nature and Parks Authority is seeking volunteers to assist in cleaning the beaches.

Local authorities will collect the tar and take it to a hazardous materials site. It is estimated that the Ministry of Environmental Protection will pay some NIS 15 million from the Fund for the Prevention of Marine Pollution to treat the disaster.


One Response to “Israel’s beaches hit be worst ecological disaster in decades”
  1. Liat Kirby says:

    This is the sort of action that breaks your heart. Those responsible should be made to face the terrible consequences to Israel’s coast and to the many marine animals affected. They should suffer maximum penalties and punishment, not only as a just result, but as a firm precedent that would serve as an example to others to take care of their dangerous rubbish.

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