Unlike pastoral rivers in Europe where bathers can jump in without alarm, Israeli rivers are all too toxic to swim in. Most toxic of all is the Kishon River. The Kishon was once a notorious dumping ground for seven chemical plants, with the result that the entire ecosystem died and the river was even blamed for causing cancer in Israeli infantry units. But good things and green progress is happening all across the Middle East this year (see our live coverage from Abu Dhabi) and now the Israeli government has pledged $50 million USD to turn the river into an oasis for Israel’s northern residents reports the Jerusalem Post.
In a deal with a Canadian firm, EnGlobe will dredge the river, in the hopes of restoring it to a level that the water can be enjoyed by the public.
The CEO of EnGlobe Barry Ellis noted at a Tel Aviv conference that his company has already dredged some 6,000 sites in Canada, the UK and France. And many of the rivers had been worse than the Kishon, he said.
Pollution started flowing to the Kishon in the 1930s. At first it was pumped full of effluent from petrochemical companies. Later, industrial ones. All life in the river died.
But by 2015 the pollution will be reversed.
Israel’s environmental minister Gilad Erdan was at the press conference in Tel Aviv and noted that green relations between Israel and Canada are already quite strong: “Canada is one of our strongest allies around the world, if not the strongest lately, and I think it’s very important for us to strengthen the relationship,” Erdan said. “It’s great that you have companies with the international experience and abilities to do such a project.”
Image via eutrophication