Jewish residents suffer as Samaria Arabs illegally burn trash

Arabs illegally dump garbage near Jewish town, burn trash at pirate landfill, causing air pollution for local Jews.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Burning illegal waste
Burning illegal waste
Michal Lev

After several months of relief, residents of the town of Itamar in Samaria are once again suffering from the air pollution caused by the illegal burning of waste at a pirate garbage dump between the town and Shechem (Nabulus).

Soldiers at a nearby IDF base are also reportedly suffering ill effects from the smoke and chemicals coming from the illegal garbage dump.

A few months ago, following requests by the Regavim and the Samaria Regavim Council to the Civil Administration, the inspection unit and the Environmental Protection Officer arrived at the garbage dump, and confiscated the engineering tools used to burn the waste. The inspection unit also blocked the access roads leading to the dump, which had been paved without permits.

Regavim recently published the "Smelly Story" report, which covers the phenomenon of illegal landfills in Judea and Samaria. According to the initial mapping, there are currently about 200 sites where Arabs burn waste scattered from the southern Hevron hills to northern Samaria. About a third of the sites are in Area C, which is under full Israel administrative and security control.

According to the report, despite the existence of the Zaher al-Finjan landfill, which is intended for the lawful removal of the waste of the cities of Shechem, Jenin, Tulkarem and Qalqiliya, a large amount of the waste produced in the Arab communities in Samaria is removed through burning at illegal landfills.

The environmental damage caused by the burning of waste at illegal sites is far greater than the damage caused at legal landfills. The damage caused includes landscape damage, foul odors, air pollution, soil and water pollution, a risk of spreading diseases, and even the release of dangerous toxins into the open air.

The hundreds of burning sites cause severe air pollution which affects both Jewish and Arab communities near the sites. The ecological damage caused by the burning of waste varies between sites and depends on weather factors such as wind strength and direction.

Attorneys Avi Segal and Yael Sinmon sent an urgent appeal to the Defense Minister and the Civil Administration. "The cat and mouse games run by the Palestinian environmental criminals must be stopped completely and the air pollution and the health damage to the residents must be stopped," Regavim said. "The time has come for the State of Israel to act like it is sovereign in these open areas, and it must act to stop this construction for future generations as well."

The head of the Samaria Regional Council, Yossi Dagan, said: "It is very unfortunate that our residents should suffer from severe air pollution, and the incompetence of the enforcement authorities is surprising. The enforcement agencies should find a way to stop this problem once and for all."