Turning a mountain sized garbage mound into a state of the art national park is now fast on its way to becoming reality outside Tel Aviv. What was formerly (and still) known by many as the Hiriya Waste Disposal Site, or simply the Hiriya Garbage Mound now has a new name, The Ariel Sharon Park, as well as a new look.
Ariel Sharon Park observation point
The eco park project owes a lot to Environment Ministry head Gilad Erdan, and to internationally renown landscape architect Peter Latz has received a lot of media attention lately, including a recent article in the Jerusalem Post.
The JPost article specifically reported that the park which will comprise an area of 8,000 dunam (2,000 acres) will cost more than $250 million when completed. Its land area will make it three times the size of New York City’s Central Park.
A special government sponsored company, the Ariel Sharon Park Company, is a composed third by national government officials; with another third from the Tel Aviv Municipality and the remaining third from environmental organizations. So, far around $28 million has been spent on the project, with some of the money coming from private sources, including the Beracha Foundation, an NGO that initiated the project with the first $8 million donation.
Illustration of completed mound part of park project
Upon the recent completion of Stage 1 of the project, which included a special observation point on the “summit” of the mound, and planting of numerous trees and other landscaping, a special event was held there, which included an evening Sound and Light Show.
Other special planned features at the park will be a small lake and a 50,000 seat amphitheater.
The dump was opened in 1952 as a waste collection site to take care of the growing needs of the populations of Tel Aviv and nearby communities. Before it was finally officially closed in 1998, the site would receive thousands of tons of garbage on a daily basis. The closure was finally approved due to thousands of sea gulls and other birds flying off the mound and creating a hazard for commercial airpliners approaching and taking off from nearby Ben Gurion Airport.
When interviewed recently, Dr. Martin Weyl, director of the Beracha Foundation said:
“It always bothered me that this existed. It was an eyesore, and nobody really gave it any attention. People would stand and the waste would go to here. The purpose of this idea was to change the attitude (of people) toward garbage.”
Now that Hiriya, is getting a well needed facelift, perhaps more green attention can be turned to other landfills and garbage mounds, including the one where that “million dollar mattress” may be resting (it still hasn’t been found).
Read more on Hiriya Garbage Mound and other waste disposal sites: