It’s one thing to be a polluter and another to have the chutzpah to not pay your fine. According to Haaretz, Israel’s Ministry of Environmental Protection is having such a hard time collecting fines that they are now issuing a tender to help collect and handle debts totaling NIS 60m.
It’s a sad story, really, that polluters in Israel are fined and then appeal the fine in court, wasting more time and precious resources. Israel has great laws, the problem is enforcing them. Read about some marine polluters in a story we wrote for The Jerusalem Post last year here and a company Hod Hefer that was dumping chicken parts –– we kid you not –– into a stream that flowed to the sea.
Earlier, we’d blogged about it on TreeHugger:
A landmark court case, reported last week, proves that the Israeli Government is clamping down on polluters and protecting one of its only natural resources, the Mediterranean Sea. According to the Ministry of Environmental Protection, polluting companies can expect to pay huge fines for illegal dumping of effluents. Last week, the courts fined Hod Hefer and its manager 120,000 shekels (about $30,000) for discharging wastewater to the sea without a permit in 2000.
Specializing in processing poultry meat products the company had been discharging animal leftovers into the Alexander River via a wastewater reservoir near the plant without a permit. The Ministry writes that the court convicted the defendants of offenses under the Water Law and the Prevention of Sea Pollution from Land-Based Sources Law.
In December 2006, the court sentenced the company to pay a fine: The manager will have to pay 40,000 shekels (about $8,000) or face six months imprisonment instead. Money collected will be transferred to the Marine Pollution Prevention Fund.
The judge who handed out the fine stated: “The defendants would have been happy to protect the environment, if this activity did not carry a significant economic cost. However, since the protection of the environment involves significant expenses, the defendants preferred to save such expenses, even if at the cost of damage to the environment. Therefore, the fine should be such as to cause the defendants to internalize the economic cost of environmental protection in their economic activities.
Has the fine ever been paid or settled? We’d like to know (can someone from Zalul answer this?)
Let’s hope the winner of the new tender will be crafty and cunning, and will be able –– like the collection agency in Canada that hunted us down for unpaid student loans (we were innocent in the end) –– to hit the polluters where it hurts most: their wallets.
More about the tender:
The Ministry operates a network of supervisors and decontamination trustees who are authorized to levy fines on environmental criminals. Thousands of fines are issued every year, estimated to total millions of shekels.
The enforcement system within the Ministry of Environmental Protection, through the ministry’s accountant and deputy director, is responsible for the collection of fines. But over the years extensive debts totaling NIS 60m have accumulated. These will now be transferred for collection by the winner of the tender.