In Israel, where language and tradition are deeply rooted to nature, the shift away from the materialistic status quo is spreading. Several kibbutzim around the country are demonstrating that with a healthy dose of scientific knowledge and a smidgen of innovation, people can live off the land quite comfortably. Kibbutz Ketura is leading the way with solar energy, Kibbutz Lotan’s Center for Creative Ecology is known worldwide, while Kibbutz Samar is one of the last-standing socialist communities in Israel that grows and exports organic dates. Northwest of Lake Kinneret, Kibbutz Hukok is also an ecological community, but Israel’s Health Ministry is preventing them from taking that ideology to the next level.
From planes to pools
Alice Miller, a South African who is known for paving the way for women to have the right to test and fly for the Israeli air force, is now suing the Health Ministry.
Kibbutz Hukok is interested to develop a public ecological pool, but according to Ehud Zion Walduks, the ministry has refused to even consider the possibility on the grounds that regulations stipulate that public pools must contain either chlorine or its derivatives.
Alice Miller’s lawyers – Yoel Freilich and Oren Bailer – maintain that the Ministry’s position would be defensible if there were no other safe alternatives to chlorine or ammonia, but other, equally effective technology does exist. Furthermore, other countries, such as Germany, have had public pools “for a while,” they claim.
According to the European Respiratory Journal, “exposure to indoor chlorinated swimming pools can be detrimental to the airways of swimmers and increase asthma attacks” and “outdoor chlorinated swimming pool attendance is associated with higher risks of asthma, airways inflammation, and respiratory allergies.”
Ecological swimming pools include two pools: one for swimming and a second pool or lake where water filtering takes place. This occurs through the use of wetland plants and algae that consume impurities pumped from the swimming pool. No chemicals are required, and water does not need to be replaced as is the case with standard pools. In water scarce countries such as Israel, it is useful to have pools that require only a top up in the case of evaporation.
One drawback to ecological pools is the additional presence of insects and mosquitoes, but introducing frogs and fish to the constructed ecosystem will keep the insects at bay.
At present, there are private ecological pools, but the ministry has yet to grant business licenses for public ecological pools. Miller claims that in so doing, the ministry is preventing a way of life.
The Ministry will respond in court, according to the Jerusalem Post.
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