One of the problems with development and technology is its wasteful side effects (see our story on green chemistry). This is one of the reasons why the current growing green awareness in these fields is so important. It wasn’t until the industrial revolution that we began affecting our ozone and causing destruction to our habitat on such grand scales.
At the end of the last century Israel was a denuded country. The pine and oak forests of Biblical times had been cut by successive conquerors and laid bare by centuries of uncontrolled grazing. The final blow came in the 19th century when the ruling Ottoman Turks clear cut whatever forest remained to obtain timber for building the trans-Arabian railroad. They left the country more than 97 percent bare. This is only one example of a trend of development.
Computer chips need to be completely without blemish in order to perform the tasks we throw at them daily. To do this one factory can use 6,300 cubic meters (1.7 million U.S. gallons) a day! Imagine all that water going to waste? With the current water shortage in Israel it turns my stomach.
But Intel, thankfully, is growing environmentally conscience and along with Numonyx has dedicated an NIS 80 million membrane bio reactor (MBR) waste treatment facility on Thursday, the largest and most advanced in Israel, that will serve their factories in Kiryat Gat.
Intel Israel general manager Maxine Fassberg explained how the project got started: “We understood that it was our responsibility to deal with the waste water coming from the factories,” she said. “It is too hard for the municipalities to raise the necessary funds and to build the facility as quickly as industry needs it. But we were in talks with the Kiryat Gat mayors for several years.”
It would be nice to see other companies take a page from their book. Without development we would not have the technology to create facilities like this one. It is time to direct our capabilities towards sustainability so that we can continue to develop and reach greater heights.