CHAPTER FIVE

ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY

And ye shall keep my statutes, and
my ordinances, which if a man do, he
shall live in them: I am the Lord. Leviticus xviii:5

The goal of the Ministry of the Environment is to formulate a comprehensive national environmental policy, and to develop the tools necessary for implementing this policy. The ministry seeks to incorporate environmental considerations into decision-making processes; to implement programs for pollution control, monitoring and research; to develop and update legislation and standards; to ensure effective enforcement; to promote environmental awareness; and to advance international cooperation for the sake of the environment.

Given the rapid rate of development, the focus of environmental policy is on preventive measures. The land-use planning process constitutes an important administrative framework for implementing environmental policy. Required environmental measures are most frequently determined on the basis of ambient, emission and design standards derived from the results of national and international research. Standards for pollutants are revised and updated based on evolving research in economics, technology, health and agricultural effects. In addition, monitoring and inspection systems provide an up-to-date picture of the state of the environment, allow authorities to predict environmental trends, enable alert and response actions in cases of pollution episodes, and contribute to the development of pollution-abatement programs.

Although environmental policy rests on the principle of prevention, it is essential to control pre-existing sources of pollution as well. Several means of intervention for the abatement of pollution exist in Israel; some involve pollution fees, in accordance to the "polluter pays" principle, to help pay environmental expenses and to encourage polluting industries to look for new technologies that will economize on resources and reduce pollution. Finally, the mainstay of environmental policy rests in the education of the general public.