A recent decision by the Internal Affairs and Environment Committee of the Knesset (Parliament) makes Israel one of the most advanced countries in the world in terms of environmental regulation. On Monday, Feb. 29, 2016, the committee approved a proposal by the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MoEP) to raise the threshold for air quality values for substances listed in the Clean Air Law. The proposal is part of the MoEP’s aggressive policies to reduce air pollution throughout the country, and part of its Haifa Bay Action Plan to Reduce Pollution and Environmental Risks.
At the MoEP’s request, the committee updated the thresholds for the six most known carcinogenic or toxic substances to humans, and set values for two other substances.
The values that were approved and set, with cooperation of Ministry of Health, are more stringent than European standards, and don’t exist in the U.S. This makes Israel one of the most advanced countries in the world in terms of environmental regulation.
One of the substances is benzene, defined as a known carcinogen for humans, and emitted as a result of activities in oil refineries, fuel tank farms, gas stations, and vehicles. The value of benzene was made more stringent, in relation to the value that was set in EU standards, and in accordance with the recommendation of the Pan-American Health Organization.
Once the new values enter into force, they’ll be used to monitor and measure pollutants across the country in the MoEP’s supervision and enforcement activities on industries, and will be a major consideration in policy-making of planning bodies.