Retamim had been used as a landfill for mixed waste and industrial waste, until its closure in 2003. The fires raging at the site are mainly due to the emission of gas into the air and digging by people who are illegally searching for metals. Aside from the environmental hazards these fires cause (odors, a burning sensation in the eyes of nearby residents), there is a danger that they will spread to areas in the landfill where industrial waste has been buried.
In May 2014, the government approved Decision No. 1583, to allocate NIS 63 million to cover the garbage at the Retamim waste site and at the nearby A.A. Ashdod waste site, and to monitor them in order to evaluate the level of pollution being emitted during the shutdown. Publication of a tender to find a company that will carry out the treatment is an important step in this process.
The MoEP says it will be closely involved with implementation of the tender, in order to ensure compliance with deadlines and that operations are carried out in a way that will ensure a total and effective shutdown of the site. In the near future, another tender will be published to find a contractor that will treat the A.A. Ashdod waste site.
A survey conducted by the MoEP and ILA found that there are about 40 points of combustion at the site. A project of this magnitude, on a landfill that is 500 dunams, with a waste volume of 3.3 million tons, is a complex process that requires actions be designed specifically for this site.
Director of the MoEP’s Central District Gidon Mazor: "The MoEP sees full rehabilitation of the Retamim and prevention of hazards resulting from the site as the highest priority. Extinguishing the fires that break out on the waste is a necessary step of the rehabilitation process that is required in order to prevent environmental hazards to residents."
The treatment project at Retamim is being equally funded by the MoEP, the ILA, and the Finance Ministry.