Civil Administration reduces air pollution in Jenin region

Level of air pollution drops by dozens of percent since closure of 32 illegal coal production sites in June

Date: 30/01/2012, 2:24 PM     Author: Florit Shoihet

Half a year after the demolishment of 32 illegal charcoal production sites in the Jenin region of Samaria, the Civil Administration is pleased with the improved air quality in the region.

“We lowered the level of air pollution in the region by dozens of percent,” said a Civil Administration official.

Last June, the Civil Administration demolished 32 coal production sites. The coal production process at these sites, involving prolonged and controlled burning of wood, produced air pollution on both sides of the Green Line.

The Civil Administration is planning to soon demolish 20 similar sites in the region that are operating without permits.

“We are looking at the ADAM RETORT model of coal production as an alternative, which will be given to all 400 polluting coal production sites in Judea and Samaria,” said Benny Elbaz, a environmental staff officer for the Civil Administration.

The new model, which is currently being tested in Slovenia, will provide a potential solution to the pollution problem in coal production. The new model will be ready for use in three months.

Coal production is an important economic activity for the Palestinian population, generating millions of shekels annually. The Civil Administration recognizes this importance and thus is pushing for the new models to be incorporated by Palestinian coal producers.

The new model emits less pollution particles that increase risks of cancer, lung disease and breathing problems.

In addition to health problems, the old model is environmentally destructive, contaminating water sources and land.

Elbaz said that the morbidity rate in the Jenin area has dropped since the closure of illegal sites in June.

There are currently around 400 coal production sites operating in the Jenin region, some of which have been running for more than 70 years. Of the 400, 38 are located in Area C (the part of Judea and Samaria under full Israeli military and civil control).