05/14/2011 23:59

Construction part of an effort to reduce illegal dumping, the IDF Spokesman’s Office says.

The civil administration released a progress report late on Thursday detailing the status of two solid waste facilities to be built in the West Bank – El-Minya in Bethlehem and Ramun in Ramallah – in hopes that both will be completed as soon as possible.

The construction was part of an effort to reduce illegal dumping, the IDF Spokesman’s Office said.

A master plan for the El- Minya site was approved by the Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria in March, while KFW Development Bank and the Ramallah Joint Services Council are expected to submit a similar master plan for Ramun by June.

A third site, Zahrat Al-Finjan in Jenin, has been operating since 2008.

Due to an increasing population and the lack of modern garbage facilities throughout the West Bank, both organic and hazardous materials are being discarded en masse in illegal locations, posing dangers to human and animal health in both the Palestinian Authority and Israel, as contaminants enter the aquifers, according to the report.

“Illegal dump sites that are mostly concentrated around the central and south West Bank are hazardous to the environment by contaminating underground aquifers and the air,” the Spokesman’s Office said. “The illegal sites also attract waste pickers, many of them children, who hunt for metals in unsafe and unacceptable conditions. The solid waste facilities will effectively treat solid waste in a safe and environmentally friendly manner.”

The already functioning site in Jenin was chosen by the World Bank as the most successful infrastructure project for the years 2008-2009, and the civil administration is currently working with both the World Bank and the Palestinian local authorities to get the El-Minya site upand- running, the report said.

The El-Minya master plan received full approval from the civil administration’s subcommittee for environmental affairs in March, and officials are now in the process of issuing permits for the site and the access road, so that construction can begin next month. The site is to serve more than 700,000 Palestinians in the Hebron and Bethlehem districts, and will include compost, recycling and gas collection centers.

Critical to this project will be the closure of more than 15 illegal dump facilities currently functioning in the area, the Spokesman’s Office said.