14/03/2016
Traffic on Derech Ha’atzmaut in Haifa Photo: Yuval Hendler
Next phase Begins in War Against Air Pollution in Haifa Bay
Traffic on Derech Ha'atzmaut in Haifa
Photo: Yuval Hendler
There has been a dramatic drop in the number of heavy vehicles clogging up roads in downtown Haifa Bay since the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MoEP) began implementing its action plan to reduce pollution in Haifa Bay. The MoEP is reporting a 60% decrease in the number of polluting diesel vehicles in the area since it began enforcing one of the plan’s elements: prohibiting these trucks from entering downtown Haifa during rush hours. The MoEP also recently announced that it will be funding the installation of diesel particulate filters for 700 vehicles in Haifa Bay.

​Data from the Haifa municipality shows that until Jan. 2016, some 600 heavy vehicles (more than 12 tons) would be on the roads in downtown Haifa every day during rush hour. However, since Israel Police began actively enforcing rules prohibiting them from the area during certain times of the day, that number has fallen to 200 vehicles, a 60% decrease. The MoEP expects the number of heavy vehicles in the area to drop even further, as police continue to enforce the rules. As of March 14, 2016, they already handed out 192 tickets to violators, totaling NIS 96,000 in fines.

The traffic prohibitions are part of the creation of Israel’s first-ever low-emission zone, an area restricted to polluting diesel vehicles. This is within the framework of the Haifa Bay Action Plan to Reduce Pollution and Environmental Risks.

MoEP Director General Yisrael Dancziger: "We are leading a dramatic process that for the first time ever, is shutting polluting vehicles out of an Israeli city. The move to reduce the number of polluting trucks on the road integrates with a series of other measures to reduce vehicular air pollution in Haifa Bay, such as the massive installation of vapor recovery systems in  gas stations, the move to convert buses and garbage trucks to natural gas, and more. All of these measures will lead to the goal we set for ourselves this year, to turn the city of Haifa into a low-emissions zone that will be restricted to polluting vehicles. Such areas are operational in more than 200 cities across Europe that suffer from air pollution."

In another move to clean up the air in Haifa Bay, the MoEP published a tender on March 7th to select car repair shops in Haifa Bay that will be authorized to install diesel particulate filters in heavy vehicles. The MoEP will fund the installation of these filters in 700 heavy vehicles, to the tune of NIS 11 million. Owners of diesel vehicles that want to have the cost of the installation covered by the ministry will have to get it done at an authorized shop, which will receive compensation from the MoEP. Garages have until May 4, 2016 to submit proposals.