By Hana Namrouqa

AMMAN – The Ministry of Environment is drawing up a plan to stop the use and trade of untreated organic fertilisers, which attract domestic flies due to their high percentage of humidity.

The plan complements a campaign launched in August last year banning the entry of untreated fertilisers into the Jordan Valley, and new regulations requiring major poultry and livestock farms to establish treatment plants to sterilise animal waste generated by their facilities.

“The ministry is planning to double the fines imposed on trucks transporting untreated fertilisers into the Jordan Valley and cracking down on owners of poultry farms who do not establish waste treatment plants,” a source at the Ministry of Environment told The Jordan Times on Thursday.

The new measures seek to address the growing plague of flies in the area, which pose health and environment hazards to area residents and visitors, and negatively affect tourism development.

The Jordan Valley is no longer exclusively used for agriculture, as hotels, villas and apartments are being built in the area, making a quick solution to the problem essential, experts say.

Mohammad Khashashneh, director of the Environment Ministry’s hazardous substances and waste management directorate, said the ministry is cooperating with the Ministry of Agriculture and the Rangers to ensure farmers and traders abide by regulations.

“It is unacceptable to remain silent when we face such a chronic problem, especially since the Jordan Valley area is a tourist and investment destination, necessitating collaboration among all involved parties,” he said in a statement released by the ministry recently.

The environment official noted that every month the Rangers seize scores of trucks loaded with untreated organic fertilisers that are destined for the Jordan Valley, adding that the fertilisers are sent to an organic fertiliser plant in Deir Alla.

Sterilised fertilisers do not attract flies because they are dry, according to environment experts.