The businessman who created the mountain of garbage is financing its removal.
By Zafrir Rinat | Nov. 13, 2013

Drivers on Route 6, the Trans-Israel Highway, have become used to the eyesore they see as they approach the town of Kalansua – a huge mound of garbage. But this week they were treated to a rare sight: On a hill overlooking the highway, lights had been arranged in order to literally highlight the progress in removing the garbage heap that has accumulated near Kalansua, an Arab town in the Sharon Plain. The mountain of trash was created by businessman Abdul Karim Hadija. And now it is Hadija who is financing its removal.

Over the last few weeks, heavy equipment has been clearing the trash into two huge pits prepared especially for the project, which is being overseen by

the Environmental Protection Ministry. “We will remove over a million cubic meters of garbage, reduce the mountain to a much lower level,” said Danny Amir from the ministry’s department of environmental planning and green construction.

The history of the trash dump is characteristic of many such sites in Israel, which operated in a period when there was no orderly infrastructure for dealing with environmental hazards. Hadija, who is involved in the field of waste disposal and quarrying, received a permit to bury solid waste and construction waste. After plans to expand the sites were not approved, he started piling up the waste – until, over the years, the hill was formed.

Local residents have blamed any case of pollution or bad odors on the site, whether they were connected to it or not, said Amir. It has become a symbol of environmental hazards. However, to date, no foul smells or methane gas have been found at the site, which testifies to the fact that no dangerous waste was buried there, says Amir.

Originally the plan called for retaining the hill as a lookout site, but after residents opposed that idea it was decided to get rid of the mound, he added.

The removal of the garbage dump does not put an end to environmental hazards in the area, however. Contractors continue to throw their waste illegally into an adjacent site.

The Environmental Protection Ministry said the reclamation project is the result of injunctions and pressure put on the owner of the site, after he exceeded the limits on the site and has still not rehabilitated it as required. As to the illegal dumping in a pit next to the site, the ministry said the police are now enforcing the law there.