Israel’s Beach Season Opens With Litterbugs

litter Israel beachDespite periodic volunteer clean up efforts, much of Israel’s beach front suffers from public littering

Lawyer Amit Bracha, director of Israel’s Union for Environmental Defense,  was a recent guest on Israel’s Channel 10 morning TV show, speaking on the official opening of beach season for 2012. Bracha told the program moderators that despite greater efforts being made to clean up the beachfronts many beaches are still very dirty, with the main responsibility for this situation falling on  the Israeli public.  This statement by Bracha come despite continuing efforts to clean up the country’s beaches with various clean-up projects that been ongoing since at least the summer of 2008.

litter israel beachA sample of left over trash on the Netanya beach

No truer words can be said due to the sad fact that the Mediterranean Sea, of which Israel shares a more than 220 kilometer western shoreline, is a very dirty body of water which also may contain large amounts of plastic debris and even its own “plastic garbage patch”. It appears now that Israel’s clean technology advances have not been applied enough torwards helping to clean up its part of the Mediterranean. This is especially true in regards to helping reduce the country’s regional carbon footprint  that could become even “heavier” due to drilling of undersea natural gas and increased reliance on desalination to produce adequate fresh water supplies.

Just taking a stroll along many beach areas indicate that one of the worst pollution problems is the public leaving their waste items there after a morning or afternoon beach session. While some public beaches try to clean up after people by hiring workers to pick up trash left there, other beach areas outside the “policed” areas are literally covered with food wastes, glass and plastic bottles, and large amounts of discarded plastic bags; much of which are afterwards washed out to sea during high tide.

Local marine ecologists, such as Dr.  Ruth Yahel with Israel’s Nature and Parks Authority, are warning that unless more efforts are made to clean up the Med, the pollution situation will be  out of control as far as being able to change it for the better. She told me recently: “Either we can improve the Med’s overall condition, or we will wind up losing control of the sea’s environment, which will have a major impact on us, from both a health as well as economic standpoint.”

Read more on Israel beach and Mediterranean pollution issues:
Israel Marine Ecologist Says Mediterranean Needs More Environmental Protection
Is the Mediterranean Harboring a Giant Plastic Garbage Patch?
Israel Can do More Than Cleantech to Reduce Regional Carbon Footprint
Israel Cleans up its Act And Recycles Its Beach Waste

Top image by Zalul; lower image by Maurice Picow.

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