A new waste sorting center is to be built close to Lake Kinneret and streams that flow into it; locals, concerned that giant site will cause noise, air and water pollution, have petitioned Ministry of Environmental Protection to find alternative location; Ministry promises that ‘If the site is to be built, it will need to meet the most stringent standards.’

Amir Ben-David 20.02.17

A new, large scale waste center is set to be built near Lake Kinneret and other water sources in the Galilee region, amid concerns by locals and environmental experts.

At present, there are only a handful of waste centers in the North of Israel. The Te’enim Site, located next to the northern town of Hatzor HaGlilit, is on the verge of running out of space very soon.

The new site will act as a substitute for Te’enim, and its location was decided after a decade of searching and deliberation.

Initially, the plan was to erect the new site in the Amiad quarry. But the Ministry of National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Resources raised objections to this, claiming that the quarry still held untapped natural resources.

Instead, it was decided that the waste center would be built adjacent to it.

The new site’s goal of managing waste sorting means it will be receiving dozens of trucks each day, which locals fear will create traffic, noise pollution and likely spread errant pieces of garbage along their way to the center.

The center will include a seven storey building that will stretch as wide as a soccer field, in addition to vast land to be used for turning trash into compost—a process that may create a pungent stench as well as attract vermin, birds and infestations, and affect the feeding habits of local wildlife.

An additional concern has been raised that the waste center will contribute to the founding of a local industrial center.

The Nature and Parks Authority have voiced their objection to the chosen site, which will sit between the natural canyons created by seasonal streams Amud and Akbara, both of which flow into Lake Kinneret.

The authority stated that after the quarry was found to be an inadequate location for the waste site, several other sites in East Galilee should have been considered in its stead.

The organization added that a central concern is that pollutants from the site will filter down through the ground and find their way into the spring water.

Local residents have also approached Minister of Environmental Protection Ze’ev Elkin (Likud) in an effort to stop the center from being built at the selected site. They claimed that it was only due to the pressure they exerted on the relevant authorities that alternative sites are being considered.

The Ministry of Environmental Protection issued a statement on the issue, saying that “It is very important to solve extreme problems in East Galilee.”

It went on to say that “The site’s different infrastructures were examined in order to meet the ministry’s standards and make sure it can operate without causing environmental hazards or endangering the water flowing into the Kinneret.

“If the site is to be built, it will need to meet the most stringent standards both in terms of smell and groundwater pollution. The ministry will make sure that it will meet the necessary demands.”