What should be done with the increasing amounts of garbage in the industrialized world? Ocean dumping, shipping to less environmentally-strict countries, burning, landfills, man-made islands – the solutions are many, but not very tenable in the long run.
In Israel, for years now, out-of-the-way areas in Judea and Samaria have been used for unloading trash. Giant garbage trucks made their unauthorized way to isolated locations in Judea and Samaria (Yesha), and there dumped their loads. Sometimes the target sites are situated next to Arab villages, and sometimes outside Jewish communities.
No longer. In January of this year, the David Unit was established by the Civil Administration of Yesha and the Ministry of the Environment, headed by Benny Elbaz, the Administration's environment chief. The results have been impressive and dramatic, NRG reports.
Just in the past six months, 154 trucks filled with trash have been stopped on their way to Yesha areas. The truck owners were heavily fined, and some of the trucks were confiscated. As a result, trash-dumping in Yesha is down 90%.
The garbage-smuggling industry is a sizable and profitable one. Generally, garbage-dumping fees are something like 280 NIS per ton, or thousands of shekels per truck. Saving these fees has led to an industry that turns over millions of shekels a year.
"Trash pollution does not stop at the Green Line" is a common refrain in the David Unit. The damage effected by unauthorized dumping in Yesha affects not only the immediate neighbors of the dumping grounds. The rivers polluted without supervision in southern Judea stream towards Be'er Sheva, and the same is true for northern Samaria adjacent to the Hadera area. It can now be expected that the ugly sights of garbage-pileups on side roads in Yesha will soon be a thing of the past.