LEGAL FRAMEWORK FOR AIR POLLUTION PREVENTION
The Abatement of Nuisances Law of 1961 is the principal legislative instrument for controlling air pollution at present. The law deals in a broad fashion with the prevention of air pollution, stating that a person shall not cause any considerable or unreasonable pollution of the air from any source whatsoever, if it disturbs, or is likely to disturb anyone nearby. In a similar manner, the law deals with the more specific nuisances of odors. The law authorizes the Minister of the Environment to promulgate regulations defining what constitutes considerable or unreasonable air pollution and odors. Israeli air quality standards were defined in a regulation first promulgated in 1971 and revised in 1992.
The law also empowers the Minister of the Environment to address specific polluters with personal decrees, which instruct them on the steps they should take to prevent the pollution which they create. These decrees have become the backbone for controlling industrial air pollution. The Abatement of Nuisances Law further provides that any permit required for the operation of an undertaking shall be conditional upon compliance with the various provisions of the law.
Regulations that have been promulgated pursuant to the Abatement of Nuisances Law include:
* The Regulation on Air Pollution from Premises, 1962, which prohibits emissions of black smoke into the air (in accordance with the Ringelmann Chart) and the Regulation on Air Pollution from Vehicles, 1963, which prohibits the emission of black smoke from motor vehicles (in accordance with the Hartridge Smoke Meter). A companion
regulation details how to measure smoke from vehicles; * The Regulation on Air Quality, 1971, revised and expanded in 1992, defines unreasonable air pollution for specific levels of air pollutants; * The Regulation on Emission of Particulate Matter in the Air, 1972, defines the permissible emission rate of particulate matter from an industrial facility in terms of the quantity of raw materials
supplied to the production process; * The Regulation on Air Pollution from Heavy Fuel Oil Burners used for Household Heating, 1972, prohibits the use of heavy fuel oil in households for central space heating systems; * The Regulation on Prevention of Unreasonable Air and Smell Pollution from Solid Waste Disposal Sites, 1990, prohibits the burning of waste at solid waste disposal sites and requires measures for the
prevention of emissions of air pollution, smoke and odors.
In line with Israel’s new program for the management of air resources, efforts are now being directed at the drafting of a new and comprehensive Clean Air Act.
Local authorities may enact by-laws on air pollution prevention. The municipality of Petah Tikvah, near Tel Aviv, was the first local authority to enact a by-law on air pollution prevention in 1988. It grants the municipality new tools with which to handle air pollution and odors from industrial plants within its jurisdiction. The municipality of Karmiel followed suit in 1993. By-laws have also been enacted for associations of towns for environmental quality on air monitoring fees. The town associations of Hadera, Ashdod, Ashkelon and Haifa have passed such by-laws.
The Traffic Ordinance (New Version), 1961, authorizes traffic magistrates to enforce those provisions of the Abatement of Nuisances Law which involve motor vehicles. Regulations promulgated under this ordinance prohibit the registration of a vehicle unless it conforms with inspection standards for emissions, including European Union standards.
The Operation of Vehicles (Engines and Fuel) Law, 1960, allows the Minister of Finance, after consulting with the Minister of Transport, to regulate the kind of fuel by which any motor vehicle shall be propelled and operated and the kind of engine which shall be installed in a motor vehicle. The Minister of Finance is empowered to enact regulations under this law which may include examination of fuel station tanks and containers, spot checks of motor vehicles and fuel tanks, and fuel sampling.
A 1982 regulation within the framework of the Planning and Building Law, 1965, prohibits the planning authorities from considering plans for certain types of projects, including projects which are expected to cause air pollution, unless environmental impact statements have been submitted for them.
The Licensing of Businesses Law, 1968, allows local authorities to impose special environmental limits for the issuance of business licenses; these limits may be based on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations, on emission standards issued by the Federal Government of Germany, or on any other standards acceptable to the Ministry of the Environment.
The Public Health Ordinance, 1940, covers many aspects of public health; sections related to the prevention of environmental nuisances are implemented by the Ministry of Health and
the Ministry of the Environment.