Israel Environment Bulletin Spring 1997-5757, Vol. 20, No. 2

INSIDE THE MINISTRY OF THE ENVIRONMENT

Israel-New Jersey Environmental Agreement

A Memorandum of Intent between Israel and New Jersey Concerning a Joint Israel-New Jersey Program to Promote the Establishment of Environmental Management Systems (EMS) was signed in Israel in November 1996. The Memorandum is based on the understanding that the promotion of EMS systems is of mutual advantage to both parties. It identifies areas of potential cooperation which may contribute to the promotion of cooperative environmental management and sustainable development, including environmental management practices, information exchange, environmental education, capacity building, legislation and modes of compliance and enforcement, standardization processes, technology transfer and others.

According to the Memorandum, the Parties will cooperate through information exchanges, jointly sponsored meetings, seminars and other activities, to enhance publicity and support for each others’ programs, in the following areas: standards of environmental management; management education in corporate industrial practices; development and dissemination of sustainable policy instruments; and capacity building and infrastructure development for environmental improvement.

Expert Team Presents Recommendations on Scrubbers

A professional team headed by the Chief Scientist of the Ministry of the Environment and including experts on scrubbers and representatives of the Israel Electric Corporation has concluded its review of the environmental and economic aspects of different scrubber technologies. The review was undertaken in light of plans by the Israel Electric Corporation to install a flue gas desulfurization (FGD) plant in its Ashkelon power station. As part of the process, an environmental comparison of two different FGD processes was undertakenwet limestone and seawater. The wet limestone method transforms SO2 emissions into gypsum, after reaction with limestone. The seawater technology neutralizes SO2 using seawater with the byproducts emitted to the sea.

Although advantages and disadvantages were found in both methods, the expert committee opted for the limestone technology. Inter alia, the decision was based on the fact that the gypsum produced in this process will be absorbed by the local market, and that the technology is based on positive worldwide experience. The committee further recommended that recovered water be used for the operation of the limestone scrubber system. The Israel Electric Corporation has committed to abide by any recommendation made by the Ministry of the Environment.

Vehicular Pollution Targeted for Enforcement

A recently published study by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has confirmed that daily travel on Israel’s main highways may cause chronic exposure to high concentrations of vehicular emissions, which may reach eight times the permitted standard. The study was conducted along two congested highwaysone in the environs of Jerusalem, the other near Tel Aviv.

Israel’s vehicular fleet has already reached 1.6 millionwith an annual growth rate of about 10%. In order to reduce vehicular emissions, which are responsible for a lion’s share of the country’s air pollution, the Ministry of the Environment, in cooperation with the Israel Police, has launched an enforcement campaign in the Tel Aviv region which is initially targeted at diesel-powered vehicles. The two-week campaign is part of a broader national program of roadside enforcement in which authorized examiners of the Ministry of Transport and Ministry of the Environment will take a more aggressive stance against violators of air pollution regulations. In a related move, the Ministry of the Environment has published a tender for the purchase of advanced remote sensing enforcement equipment for roadside operation.