The IDF (Zahal) is the largest organization in Israel, with bases across the country. That means we have a responsibility to protect not just the people of Israel, but its environment too.
To do just that, the IDF (Zahal) set up the Environmental Protection Unit back in 2008. Since then, we’ve tackled a host of environmental issues: sewage, fuel, hazardous material infrastructure, solid waste, recycling, radiation, noise and air pollution reduction and natural resource conservation and efficiency.
Here are seven examples of how the IDF (Zahal) has used its ability to innovate and its technological brainpower to find solutions to some of the world’s most pressing environmental issues.
Illustrative: Mitzpe Ramon Wetlands
1. The IDF (Zahal) is grappling with sewage treatment by constructing wetlands. Wetlands are very efficient – they remove sediments and pollutants like heavy metals from the water. The water is then recycled for use back on the base.
2. Solar energy is making its way to all bases in the IDF (Zahal), where it is used for everything from heating water to turning on the lights. Solar power is helping the IDF (Zahal) reach its goal of becoming an energy-efficient military.
3. We’re making efforts to conserve water in many different ways in the IDF (Zahal). One example: we capture the water that drips from A/C units and reuse it in the gardens on our bases.
4. Israeli-made transportation pipes transfer waste water from Israeli Navy ships from sea to land while the ship is docked. The waste water goes into a waste container, where an Israeli-made chemical cleans the bacteria from the waste. Once the water is bacteria-free, it is pumped back into the Mediterranean Sea.
5. Refueling tanks tend to spill a lot of fuel. To fix this, we place Israeli-made spill containment platforms under the tanks to capture the spilled fuel and recycle it for future use.
6. In order to recycle engine oil, the IDF (Zahal) has implemented the oil collection platform, which uses a pumping method to filter and clean the oil. Gas companies in Israel then buy the recycled oil, which gives the IDF (Zahal) a little extra money for our conservation efforts.
7. The diesel fuel heaters the IDF (Zahal) was using in its tents were destroying the soil. That’s why the IDF (Zahal) has made the switch from diesel fuel heaters to cleaner, gas-powered heaters. The switch has significantly reduced damage to the environment.
The IDF (Zahal) has come a long way in protecting the environment, but we don’t plan to stop there. We’re always conducting research and development, evaluating new technologies, and finding renewable energy sources to use in the future.