Over 2.5 million Israelis visited parks and nature reserves over the weeklong Passover (Pesach) holiday - a 10% increase since 2015.
While thousands visited the Beit Shean, Caesarea, and Ein Gedi national parks, they have also become overwhelmed with garbage from the influx, according to a report release Sunday - despite the fact that environmentalist organizations, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority (INPA), and the Jewish National Fund - Keren Kayemet Le'Yisrael (JNF-KKL) grew their waste collection staffs by 5-6 times for the holiday week.
"The Association of Municipalities of Galilee collected and cleared more than 250 tons of garbage accumulated on the beaches" during Passover, Dana Bachar, director of the Drainage Authority for the Galilee's beaches and rivers, revealed to Army Radio. "In a typical week we collect a lot less."
Plastic bags were the prime problem, Bachar said.
Maya Jacobs, CEO of Water Purification organization Zalul, added fears that heavy rain has driven the debris into Israel's water supply.
"It is clear that there is a widespread and severe phenomenon here, which will not stop unless the government, Knesset and local authorities understand their responsibilities, increase enforcement [against littering - ed.] and impose heavy fines."
Channel 10 has also released a list of the Israeli forests littered the most. Ramot Menashe Park in northern Israel is under some 80 tons of garbage; Ben Shemen, 60 tons; and the Biria Forest near Tzfat (Safed), 30 tons.
Israel's national parks and beaches are expected to be cleared over the next several days.