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Touring the North with the Knesset Socio-Environmental Caucus

June 4, 2007

Yesterday, Zalul took members of the Knesset Socio-Environmental Caucus on a tour of some of the most pollution affected areas of northern Israel. It began bright and early with a bus ride from Tel Aviv up to Haifa, picking up officials and press members along the way, and meeting to start the tour at the Haifa Port.

At the port, we all boarded the Carmelit, for a tour of the bay and the dredging work that is going on. As representatives from Zalul and the Ministry of the Environment explained the situation, Knesset Members Rabbi Michael Melchior and Dov Khenin listened.

On the Carmelit

Surrounded by press on the Carmelit.

The dredging is part of an effort to clean up the huge amounts of toxic sludge that have built up along the floor of the bay and the Kishon itself. They dig out the sludge using a “claw” and let it dry out in the sun. Not very aesthetic and the progress is extremely slow.

The Dredging Machine

The dredger.

From there we hopped back onto the bus and took a closer look at the Kishon itself. After years of hard work to clean up the river, it is still not in good shape. There is hardly any life in the river and it has this funky green color that just doesn’t look very healthy.

And off to Acco we went. This time to view the ALA Pipeline. The pipeline was built to replace the Naaman River as a sewage discharge line to the Mediterranean. Now, instead of using the river, the pipeline releases sewage less than a kilometer away from public beaches. The pipeline is sanctioned by the Ministry of the Environment and officials there informed us that the quality of the water being discharged into the sea was only “slightly different” from drinking water. No one believed her, the smell was just awful.

Checking out the sewage.

Taking a closer look at the ALA Pipeline discharge.

The tour ended just in time for lunch and although we had been thinking about eating hummus in Acco all day (mmmm… so good!) we had to head back to Tel Aviv as there was more work to be done.

View pictures from the tour on our Flickr page.



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