During the conference, Peretz also announced that the MoEP would fund organic waste treatment in the amount of NIS 6 million, in order to lower waste treatment costs for local authorities. This is part of the ministry’s separation at source program, a main component of its Recycling Revolution. Within the framework of the separation at source program, some 300,000 Israeli households in 42 local authorities are already separating their domestic waste into two streams – organic and dry waste. At least another 23 local authorities are slated to begin the waste separation program in the near future.
Minister Peretz gives opening remarks at the Local Authorities Conference
The goals of the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MoEP) and the country’s local authorities are the same: to strengthen the already strong and to empower the disadvantaged. That was the message from Minister Amir Peretz at the Local Authorities Conference on Tuesday, April 8, 2014. Local authorities, added Peretz, are the MoEP’s main partners in the struggle for environmental and social justice.
Dozens of heads of local authorities and regional councils took part in the conference, which was organized in recognition of the fact that local authorities are the ministry’s most important partner in advancing environmental and societal causes in Israel. "I see myself as a representative of local authority heads," Peretz told the audience, noting that the MoEP’s budget reflects this philosophy. "Between 2011-2014, 55% of the budget was allocated to local authorities – more than NIS 760 million. This plus the NIS 100 million that was allocated to treat waste in Arab communities brings the percentage to 60%."
Peretz also declared his support for the cancellation of the Value Added Tax (VAT) that local authorities pay for waste treatment. The citizens end up paying that extra cost, Peretz noted, which means they pay twice – once for removal of the separated waste and again for the VAT on the treatment of that separated waste. "This is an injustice and I commit to look in-depth into the issue of the VAT," the minister said.
During the conference, the MoEP stated its continued support for the Environmental Tag program, aimed at both benefitting the environment and cutting expenses for local authorities by helping them reduce water and electricity consumption, and generate less waste. This can result in savings of millions of shekels, which can go toward allowing less prosperous authorities to benefit from the program as well. The MoEP has already provided NIS 3.5 million in funding for the program.
A collaboration between the MoEP and the WAZE GPS application was also announced at the conference. The app will provide information about air pollution from the ministry’s air pollution monitoring system, which will allow drivers to avoid areas of particularly high pollution.