Israel Defense Ministry Stalls on Sewage Treatment

raw sewage jerusalem dead seaRaw sewage from Jerusalem flows straight into the Dead Sea.

Many of Israel’s army bases were built quickly, in isolated spots, and 150 of them are not even connected to the country’s sewage system. The waste  ends up in the groundwater, contaminating fresh water sources and crops and preventing the water from being recycled for agriculture. Last year, Green Prophet reported that half of Israel’s untreated sewage stems from a lack of IDF sewage infrastructure.

Over the years, the defense ministry has allocated part of its budget to connect the camps to the country’s main sewage system where it can be properly treated.

Recently, an agreement was reached with the finance and environmental protection ministries to share the NIS 400 million cost of completing the project. A vote was scheduled for Monday, April 19.

But the defense ministry backed out at the last minute, claiming that the environment ministry lowered the amount they had offered to put up annually, from NIS 50 million to 30 million.

The environmental protection ministry blamed the army:

“I am sorry to see that the defense establishment has not yet internalized that the citizens’ drinking water is no less important than buying one more tank or one more plane. What is demanded of local authority heads and factory managers, the state must demand of itself – preventing sewage from contaminating the water sources,” Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan said in a statement.

In the meantime, the defense ministry will continue to connect the camps to the sewage system at the slow speed typical of military bureaucracy. Let’s hope the ministries stop squabbling long enough to work out a quick solution and protect Israel’s limited supply of fresh water.

Source: Jerusalem Post

More on the IDF and Israeli government:
IDF Adopts Solar Energy Field Rechargers
Israel’s Ministry of Environmental Protection: IDF Bases Pollute Land and Water
Water Security in the Middle East: From the Desk of Israel’s Ministry of Environmental Protection

More posts by Hannah Katsman:
Ten Ways to Buy Less When You Breastfeed Your Baby
Are “Green” Garbage Bags Good for the Environment?
Twelve Tips for Saving Water in the Kitchen

Image via chadic

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