In a hill overlooking the Judean Desert east of Bethlehem, a refuse disposal site is currently being established for the Bethlehem and Hebron areas, allowing the closure of 17 pirate sites which are currently causing numerous environmental hazards.
(COGAT – Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories)
A monthly meeting was held in May 2013 at the refuse disposal site currently being construction at El Minaya, in the Bethlehem area, between the Bethlehem District Coordination and Liaison Office’s International Organizations Officer and Yasser Dawik, the World Bank’s Project Development Director. The project is being financed by the World Bank and will be operated by Palestinian entrepreneurs. The European Commission has donated $7 million worth of digging and work equipment for the project and USAID had donated a further $3 million for the construction of an access road to the site.
The disposal site will be able to process 700 tons of refuse and is expected to serve the population of Bethlehem for approximately 50 years. The land excavation stage was completed during March 2012 and the ongoing work at the site is expected to already be completed over the next two months.
The importance of the project lies in the closure of the 17 pirate refuse collection sites which are currently responsible for generating numerous environmental hazards. Thirteen of the pirate sites have already been shut down and the closure of 4 more will follow as soon as work on the El Minaya site has been completed. Plans are likewise underway for the establishment of an educational center for both adults and children, to teach the importance of recycling and safeguarding the environment. Trees are to be planted around the refuse disposal site, which shall be a garden park in all respects.
"Once the project has been completed, we shall be proud to say that indeed no pirate refuse disposal sites any longer exist in the area," announced Yasser Dawik, the World Bank’s Project Development Director. "In stark contrast to the pirate sites, this site shall be a place for improving both the lives of the resident population and the quality of the environment."