Israel’s recent Passover holiday period, which also included opening season visits to beaches and various picnic sites, is still being dealt with by national park and forestry employees long after holiday goers returned home. Whether it be national forests, rivers and beaches, or city public parks, the amount of trash and food waste left behind is staggering, to say the least.
Employees of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority , in charge of watching over forest lands and national parks, estimate that as of Sunday, April 28, more than 700 tons of trash is still “onsite” and not yet been picked up from locations where holiday goers visited during the 8-day holiday.
The following video (in Hebrew) from the Channel 12 news site gives some indication of the amount of trash left behind, including picnic grills, folding chairs, and mountains of throwaway plastic dishes and utensils.
According to Channel 12 News reporter Guy Veron, literally tons of waste items of all types are still being picked up from these sites in an ongoing operation that is expected to take several days to complete. Environmentalists dealing with the problem of picnic trash left in these locations, including the country’s beach fronts, point out that much of the problem is simply a lack of education in environmental issues the country faces, along with a sheer disregard for protecting Israel’s fragile environment.
Although trash bins and dumpster containers are often available to put the trash in, many holiday goers simply do not use them; often leaving their trash on the ground or on beach areas where they spent their holiday time.
Spokesperson for the environmental organization Zalul say that litter by beachfront visitors is a constant problem; especially on weekends and holidays. As much of the beach litter includes throwaway plastic bags, bottles, straws and dishes, some of it gets washed out to sea, resulting in a danger to marine life.
“The Mediterranean Sea contains so much “micro-plastic” waste that literally all fish and other marine animals, including birds, have these waste particles inside their stomachs, resulting in eventual death for many of them,” a Zalul spokesperson once told me.
It is a shame that environmental awareness is not taught more in the schools. Parents pass their lack of environmental knowledge and concern on to their children, who continue their parent’s bad habits in respect of concern for the country’s natural resources. Protecting the environment should be considered an important school subject, since the country’s future depends on it.
More about trash accumulation and recycling:
Photo of Kinneret lake shoreline : Gil Eliau/Haaretz