Jerusalem’s Bus Station – A Pollution Death Trap for Workers and Shoppers

jerusalem bus stationShop till you “drop” at the Jerusalem bus station.

Working in a congested bus station, especially one like Jerusalem’s Central Bus Station is not conducive to one’s health. The toxic fumes created by the hundreds of buses that go in and out of this station, and all the free radicals in this air pollution is almost as bad as  “black cloud” infested Cairo Egypt, or Tehran Iran; where as many as 27 people die each day from air pollution .

A recent study was made by Israel’s Environment Ministry, and was reported afterwards in the Jerusalem Post. Findings? Pollution at this bus station includes high levels of ozone, sulfur dioxides, nitrous oxides and particulate matter made the level of pollution in the air four or five times greater than acceptable levels.

jerusalem bus stationEntrance to Jerusalem’s Central Bus Station

The report found pollutants like nitrous oxide to be as much as 17 times what could be considered as “normal” – and this even was the norm at night, after the buses stopped running. It lingers.

This pollution problem is causing people working in the area to be subject to many life threatening diseases; especially those affecting the cardiovascular system.

According to Professor Menachem Luria, who teaches industrial hygiene at Hebrew University:

“If you just walk through for just a few minutes, it’s bad, but it’s not as bad as it is for people who work in those compounds”

Although the Egged bus cooperative is claiming to be making their buses more environmentally friendly, Prof. Luria remarked (regarding the buses’ green color) “the only thing green is the color of the buses”.

As a result Prof. Luria is calling the Jerusalem bus station “a very sick building.”

Judging from what is going one in many parts of the world, especially locations like Cairo and Teheran, things are getting bad in Israel too where free radicals from air pollution are so bad that people are warned not to do physically exerting exercising there like jogging or bike riding.

A physical deathtrap going in and finding your way out, even the much larger Tel Aviv Central Bus Station appears to be less polluting, possibly because the buses are parked outside and some filtration inside the building is being done by the building’s air conditioning systems. Wonder what the pollution in the nearby neighborhood is like?

Solutions to the problems here do not seem forthcoming. Although a number of ideas have been put forward, including the use of electric buses. But solutions like electric buses are still a long way off. Start lobbying your local governments for greener transportation, people.

::JPost.com: Bus station Photo by Michael Melech

More about regional air pollution issues:

Free Radicals Attack Your Brain in Polluted Cities

Why 27 People a Day Die From Air Pollution in Teheran

It’s Black Cloud Season Again in Cairo

 

 

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