Trash has been piling up in some Arab and ultra-Orthodox towns in Israel. Lacking the funds to maintain trash collection, less affluent communities must often deal with insufficient trash pick-up and recycling, resulting in unsanitary conditions. Last week, Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan announced a proposal to help these communities clean up their act.
Erdan wants to re-allocate some of the money paid by wealthier local authorities to poorer communities that lack basic waste management to help them pay for trash sorting and recycling infrastructure in their local communities. According to the Ministry, “The earlier the waste is sorted, the greater the separation potential and the greater the value of recyclable components.”
Providing curbside recycling centers and adequate trash pick-up will help reduce the amount of recyclable goods that are currently littering the towns and filling landfills. Yet, for many poorer Arab communities in Israel the problem is not only trash. The entire sewage system is in decay.
The sewage in some Arab communities has long been in disrepair, Energy and Water Resources Minister Uzi Landau told the audience at a recent conference in Tel Aviv. “The way we’ve neglected this leaves us with a bad feeling,” he added.
The lack of sewage systems in Arab towns has also seriously polluted Israel’s streams and nature reserves and impaired the quality of life in these communities. To remedy the situation, the Israeli government plans to invest NIS 334 million, approximately 8.5 million USD, in sewage improvements in these locales. “The sewage project in outlying areas is important and we must stress the towns in the Arab sector,” Landau said.
Environmental groups, however, warn that without adequate long term financing to maintain the new trash and sewage improvements, efforts to try and clean up these communities will ultimately fail.