NEWS IN BRIEF
Kibbutz Samar Plans Solar Power Plant
Kibbutz Samar, located in the Arava Valley some 30 kilometers north of Eilat, may be Israel’s first kibbutz to build its own power plant using photovoltaic cells to produce pollution-free electricity. The Sunergy System developed at Kibbutz Samar and at the National Solar Energy Center at Sde Boker envisions building a 25-watt photovoltaic power station on the kibbutz. The site was confirmed as ideal following years of research and measurements which determined that Samar was an ideal spot to build a PV system because of its high levels of solar radiation combined with moderate winds.
Damages from Vehicular Pollution on the Rise
The economic costs of vehicular pollution in Israel have reached NIS 870 million per year (0.38% of the Gross National Product) according to a study prepared by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem on behalf of the Ministry of the Environment. This figure relates to the valuation of damages caused by increased morbidity and mortality alone and does not take into account related damages such as lost workdays.
Computer Center Opens in Eilat
Minister of the Environment Rafael Eitan has inaugurated Israel’s first computer center for nature and environmental study in Eilat. The center, located in the Eilat Field Study Center, is part of a "Green College" project initiated by the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel and Beit Berl. The center, which will be made available to students, teachers, environmentalists and others, will place special emphasis on educational projects related to bird migration. Students will be able to follow up on bird migration in real time with the aid of the French satellite ARGOS. Data reveal that about 500 million birds fly over Eilat twice a year, including 600,000 storks85% of the world population.
National Board Approves Ben-Gurion 2000 Plan
Following a quarter of a century of opposing plans and conceptions, the master plan for Ben-Gurion International Airport was approved by both the National Planning and Building Board and the government in 1997. At the same time, recommendations call for a second complementary international airport to be constructed in the south of the country.
The masterplan strives to adapt Israel’s main international airport to the 21st century while balancing economic needs with environmental needs. It relates not only to the structure of the airport and its air and ground facilities but to physical planning in the entire area impacted by the airport’s activity by means of environmental guidelines. Thus, for example, a public commission will oversee environmental factors, a judge will determine the rights of communities to acoustic protection, night flights will be restricted, a noise and flight monitoring network will be operated, and an alert, fine and penalty system will be set up to enforce restrictions.
Approval was also granted to the Israel Airport Authority’s plan to construct a new terminal which will be equipped to handle up to 12 million passengers annually, with the possibility of expansion to 16 million passengers and 1.2 million tons of cargoes at a later stage. The present terminal, which was originally planned to accommodate four million passengers a year, is presently handling seven million a year.