Charcoal is made by the slow, controlled burning of wood, wet straw and soil in a chamber called a kiln. The process can take 15-30 days; if the gases emitted during the process are not properly treated, it can result in strong odords, huge amounts of smoke, and emissions of respirable particles, carbon monoxide, nitrogen and sulfur oxides, and volatile organic compounds. This can affect the quality of life of those nearby. Long-term exposure can cause health problems.
Green Police inspectors and the Dalit el Carmel Regional Authority visited the site where the kiln was operating in early June. Other kilns were also found at the site, but were not operational.
The Ministry of Environmental Protection and the Agriculture Ministry have launched a program to deal with the environmental hazards caused by charcoal kilns, many of which are operational in Areas A and B of the West Bank, which means the Israeli government does not have control over them. The ministries’ plan focuses largely on regulation over the wood that is used in these kilns, which often comes from the center of the country. The plan includes:
- regulating transport of tree stumps and requiring those who transport them to be licensed;
- increased supervision over movement of raw materials to kilns;
- expanding monitoring, and more.