Israel Environment Bulletin Autumn 1997-5758, Vol. 20, No. 4

INSIDE THE MINISTRY OF THE ENVIRONMENT

Incinerator for Ramat Hovav

In November 1997, following years of delay, Israel’s first incinerator was inaugurated at the Ramat Hovav Disposal Site for Hazardous Wastes. The ceremony was attended by the Minister of the Environment along with Danish and French dignitaries and representatives of the companies which won the tender for establishing and operating the incinerator.

The quantities of organic waste that have accumulated at Ramat Hovav are estimated at 60,000. With the upcoming operation of the incinerator, capable of burning between 15,000-20,000 tons of organic material per year, the site will gradually be rid of the large amount of organic material that has accumulated while incoming organic waste will be incinerated on a routine basis. The incinerator complies with the European Directive on the Incineration of Hazardous Waste. Operation of the incinerator, following the current run-in period, will be dependent on a performance test that will be analyzed according to EPA guidelines on hazardous waste incineration. A steering committee has been established to assure that the incinerator complies with all operational and environmental standards related to waste incineration. The committee includes, in addition to professionals from the Ministry of the Environment, representatives of the area and public bodies.

Epidemiological Survey in Ramat Hovav

Within the framework of a joint policy on pollution abatement in the Ramat Hovav industrial area, the Directors General of the Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Health have called for an epidemiological survey in the area. A joint team composed of representatives of both ministries has been commissioned to prepare the plan for implementng the survey which will encompass both employees in the industrial area and neighboring residents. The team will review existing data on possible harm to workers and inhabitants, recommend the tests to be undertaken, and establish the structure, duration, population and cost of the survey.

National Radon Survey

The Ministry of the Environment has initiated a national radon survey aimed at mapping radon concentrations in structures throughout Israel, defining areas with a potential risk of high radon concentrations, establishing basic standards for building in high-risk areas, and setting guidelines on construction which will prevent radon infiltration.

As part of the survey, detectors will be placed in 1800 single storey buildings. The distribution of the detectors will take account of different parameters including geology, previous radon readings in buildings, etc. Detectors will be placed both for short term periods of a week and longer terms of six months.

Anti-Litter Campaign a Success

A survey carried out on behalf of the Environment Ministry to follow up on its clean-up campaign has found the effort to be a success. Ninety-three percent of those interviewed concurred with the statement: "When I see people littering it makes me angry," 79 percent believed that fines for litterbugs should be raised, 88 percent remembered the campaign and 70 percent felt that the ads influenced them to try to stop littering. The survey was carried out on a representative sample of 503 men and women.

Israel’s Radiation Detection Network Completed

The Ministry of the Environment has completed a network for environmental radiation monitoring which serves for advance alert in case of radiation. The system is based on six inland stations located in Tel Aviv, Kfar Hasidim, Jerusalem, Beersheba, Dimona and Metula as well as three coastal stations located in Haifa, Ashdod and Eilat. An additional mobile station enables monitoring anywhere in the country. The system, which is operated by the Radiation Division of the Ministry of the Environment, supplies data on the level of environmental radiation in Israel. The Ministry transfers the data to the GERMON (Global Environmental Radiation Monitoring Network) of UNEP/WHO.

Air Monitoring Network Expands

Israel’s multi-million dollar air monitoring program has witnessed the addition of several new monitoring stations and regional control centers over the past year. The new 24-station network will eventually cover the entire area of the country whereas earlier stations were placed only in the environs of power plants and major industrial areas. The system is pyramidical with its base in the monitoring stations which are linked to regional centers. At the head of the pyramid is the national control center for data storage, analysis and display which will be located in Ramle.

The results obtained from the stations which have been installed in the Tel Aviv area and in Mod’in, Israel’s first inland monitoring station, confirm earlier reports that transportation is a significant cause of air pollution in Israel. Monitoring results recorded in the autumn of 1997 in Tel Aviv’s new stations revealed exceedances of the Israeli standard for NOx while Mod’in reports showed exceedances of both the NOx and ozone standards.

Evaluation of Emission Coefficients from Motor Vehicles

According to a research study conducted by experts from the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, in cooperation with the Ministry of the Environment, about a tenth of Israel’s motor vehicles emit half of the country’s vehicular air pollutants. The study utilized a new remote sensing device which tested about 700 motor vehicles during driving conditions at speeds of about 50 km/hour as well as routine tests of about 400 vehicles.

Thus far, most of Israel’s pollution assessment surveys for motor vehicles were based on emission coefficients of vehicles in the USA and Europe although these data are no longer applicable because of differences in the vehicle fleet, driving conditions, climatic factors, etc. The main aim of the research was to evaluate the emission coefficients of motor vehicles in Israel and thus to provide a much-needed tool for the implementation of assessments regarding air pollution from motor vehicles in Israel.

The survey included three stages: processing of statistical data on the private vehicle fleet in Israel, measurements of emissions of the gaseous pollutants CO, HC, NOx and CO2 during real urban driving conditions, and assessment of emission coefficients from vehicles in Israel.

Based on the experiments, the following results were obtained:

* The percentage of vehicles which comply with the CO standard is reduced from 75 percent for vehicles which are up to 3 years old to 60 percent for vehicles which are over 10 years old.

* About 10 percent of the vehicles contribute about 40 percent of the total CO emitted and 50 percent of the total HC.

* A correlation exists between measurements of CO and HC obtained during the course of remote sensing to routine measurements during idling and urban driving.

* It was found that the average speed of travel in the city center is now 15.4 km/hour in comparison to 21.8 in 1980a reduction of about 30 percent. This decrease in average speed is assumed to have resulted in a rise of over 15 percent in vehicle fuel consumption.

* It was found that the use of air conditioning during city center driving leads to an increase of 13-28 percent in vehicle fuel consumption, to an increase of 15-34 percent in the mass emission of CO2 and to an increase by a factor of up to two in NOx mass emissions.

* Emissions of pollutants from vehicles equipped with catalytic converters were much lower than those not equipped with these converters. The rates of lowered emissions were 80 percent for CO and NOx and 85 percent for HC emissions.