Zalul conferences bring together stakeholders to take strides toward environmental change


On Sunday, April 25, 2010, Zalul hosted the conference “Desalination: How Much Does it Cost the Sea?” at Haifa’s prestigious Technion Water Reseach Institute, bringing about Israel’s top desalination professors and researchers to deliberate on this important topic. In the hopes of zeroing in on the economic and marine environment’s impact, those in attendance spent a full day contemplating this complicated process. A special guest in attendance was leading environmental scientists on desalination: Dr. Sabine Lattemann of Germany.

Dr. Sabine Lattemann presented a lecture which demonstrated the various impacts of desalination on the environment, both above and below sea level. Drawing upon the data from desalination plants already in existence around the world, Dr. Lattemann enlightened the audience with the reality of these facilities’ energy consumption and water capacity. The energy consumption is often astronomical (equal to about 330,000 laundry dryer loads), however Dr. Lattemann sees the economic viability of such a project.

This conference gave the researchers an open means to discuss this complex topic and Zalul is proud to have been an organizer of this important event. We intend to keep the dialogue open as we continue to explore this complex issue and it’s effect on the marine environment.

Fish ponds and Israel’s rivers:

Fish ponds are major polluters of Israel’s waterways. These fish are raised in high saline water, which constantly needs to be cleaned and changed. This resulting water is full of the fish’s discharge, high salinity, and other pollution and is eventually dumped into the rivers. As a result, certain rivers in Israel are full of little more than the pollution resulting from these fish cages.

Zalul saw an opportunity to reform this practice and bring to light the harmfulness of fish ponds. With 45 such ponds around Israel and about 90 million cubic meters of water, it is a big project to change, but the results could mean the safety and cleanliness of our rivers. On Thursday, May 6, 2010, Zalul hosted a conference with individuals from all sides of this debate: from fish farmers, to environmentalists and government officials. In addition to Zalul, the conference was sponsored by the Agriculture and Environmental Protection Ministries, Fish Growers Association, and the Samuel Neaman Institute for Advanced Studies in Science and Technology. We are proud to say that it brought about a healthy debate from all sides, fulfilling Zalul’s goal of developing a better and more complete understanding of this complicated practice from all parties.

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Concern for the environment grows in Israel

A recent poll was conducted which shows that 98% of Israelis are concerned about their environment. In an article in Ynet News, the poll was given to a random sample of 500 Israeli men and women to find out just how they viewed their environment. In honor of the recent Earth Hour, the Environmental Protection Ministry was interested to see how much the people of Israel care for their environment. These results indicate something positive. The survey also found that those who are most aware of the importance of environmental care are typically in the younger generation, and these are often the one who influence the rest of the family’s behavior.

At Tel-Aviv’s Earth Hour, Zalul had a booth set up in Rabin Square where people at the event could learn more information about Zalul, the environment and how to become more involved. Our sign up list quickly filled and many people shared stories about their personal efforts through participation in beach clean ups and in encouraging others to preserve a clean environment. We’re proud to see the community come together in support of our planet and watch their enthusiasm for the environment grow.

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A surprise visitor to Israel’s waters stuns scientists!

In an unexpected event, a gray whale was spotted off the coast of Herzilya early last week in what scientists believe to be the first gray whale sighting in the Mediterranean in the last 200 to 300 years! Photographs and first hand accounts of the whale (which typically reach a length of 16 meters (52 ft)), confirmed the sightings.

Out of its natural habitat, scientists theorize that this gray whale must have taken a wrong turn somewhere in the ice-less Northwest Passage, leading it to the unfamiliar shores of the Mediterranean. We wish the whale well and hope it will safely return to its friends. Next time bring the whole family!