Results of the Study
Some of the major findings of the study include:
- Of all the sites measured, the highest concentrations of nanoparticles were found in the passenger carriage behind the locomotive (downwind) and reached up to 400,000 particles per cubic meter of air.
- Particularly high concentrations – up to 200,000 particles per cubic meter of air – were also measured at the Hashalom Station, mainly on Platform 1. The findings unequivocally point to the railway engines as the main source of pollution.
- High concentrations were also found at Jerusalem’s Central Bus Station, in the area of the platforms, as a result of the bus engines. High concentrations were also found inside the station, at the restaurant area, a result of cooking with open fire. Although the concentrations at the bus station were significantly lower than those measured at the Tel Aviv train station, they were still higher than typical concentrations found inside a clean office. It should be noted that the concentration of nanoparticles typical in an office is about 4,000 particles per cubic centimeter.
Ministry Activities Regarding Pollution at Bus and Train Stations
As a result of MoEP demands, actions have been taken to reduce the public’s exposure to air pollution:
At Jerusalem’s Central Bus Station:
- Improvements have been made to the ventilation system at the boarding platforms area and in the waiting hall.
- Signs have been put up to inform passengers about the air quality and the health risks involved in waiting in the area near the buses.
- Buses have been ordered not to idle, and instead to turn their engines off while waiting.
- Dispatchers now ensure that passengers do not wait in the polluted areas and queues are managed in an orderly fashion.
- A gradual ban is in effect on entry of polluting buses (below Euro 4 standard) to the bus station. The full ban will take effect in July 2017.
At Tel Aviv’s Hashalom Train Station:
- Continuous air quality monitoring stations have been set up, and information about pollution levels at several stations along the Ayalon Highways is put up on screens at the station site. In addition, warnings are issued and instructions are given out in cases of particularly high levels of air pollution.
- Systems designed to improve ventilation and reduce pollution levels are being installed. This project is in the tender stages, and is expected to last for about a year.
- Particulate filters will be installed in the trains’ engines. (In the wake of the study, the MoEP has demanded that Israel Railways speed up timetables for installing particulate filters on the engines.
These solutions are designed to reduce emission levels and reduce public exposure to pollution. Ultimately, electrification of the train will serve as a permanent solution to the prevention of air pollution. A gradual process to electrify Israel’s trains is expected to begin in 2018.
The Ministry is in the process of working with Israel Railways on regulations to deal with air pollution.