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Hazardous waste and security preparedness

July 1, 2007

Haifa Refinery


As part of the aftermath of the Second Lebanon War, the Israeli government formed a committee to look into the preparedness of facilities containing hazardous waste in the North during emergency situations.

The Shafir Committee has representatives from the Environment Ministry, Home Front Command, the Public Security Ministry, the firefighters, the Manufacturers Association, green orgs, and more.

The results of their findings are no surprise. Among the findings: Most businesses in Haifa Bay do not have a permit and many of the hazardous materials are not secured now, much less so in the case of an attack. The chemicals mentioned include: Bromine (in small amounts can affect breathing, inhalation of significant amounts of bromine can seriously damage the respiratory system), ammonia (see ammonia poisoning to learn more about the serious damage it does to aquatic life in an aquarium… then think about the effects when tons of this stuff is dumped into the ocean), ethylene, and fertilizers.

Says the Haaretz article:

According to the committee’s interim report, whose main points are being published here for the first time, a population of 100,000 in a radius of up to 10 kilometers is liable to be affected in the event of a serious attack on the Port of Haifa or on some of the industries situated in the bay.

Now think of how many people are affected on a daily basis by these consistently unchecked, permit-less businesses who handle dangerous chemicals in such an irresponsible manner.

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