The government approved a plan to reduce environmental hazards in several areas in Jerusalem, with an emphasis on the city’s Arab neighborhoods. The plan, proposed by Environmental Protection Minister Zeev Elkin, got the green light on Sunday, May 28, 2017. The overall budget for the plan is NIS 201 million; NIS 177 will go toward East Jerusalem and NIS 24 million toward reducing vehicular pollution across the city.
Strengthening Jerusalem for all Residents
Environmental Protection Minister Zeev Elkin: "Today we initiated a number of very important decisions to strengthen Jerusalem and the welfare of its residents. One of the areas that are reflected in the government’s decisions is the environmental sphere, which includes two decisions.
"One decision will lead to a dramatic change in waste and sewage in East Jerusalem. As someone who believes in a unified Jerusalem, I see East Jerusalem as a national project, and therefore the city cannot have a sewage system from the Middle Ages. Connecting the Arab neighborhoods and treating the sanitation problems will also improve the quality of life and the environment of the residents of East Jerusalem.
"The second decision will deal with air pollution from transportation, from which Jerusalem suffers. Vehicular air pollution is one of the main things that harms the health of Israeli residents, and therefore the Ministry is formulating a plan for treatment at the national level. Jerusalem was chosen to be among the first where the plan will be implemented both because of its unique status and because it is one of the most polluted cities in the country. The residents of the capital and the millions of tourists who visit it deserve to breathe clean air in the streets of Jerusalem."
MoEP Director General Yisrael Dancziger: "This is a very important and moral step. We are continuing to lead the way in helping those who cannot afford to reduce pollution and environmental risks, regardless of religion or race."
Improving Infrastructure, Treating Hazards in E. Jerusalem
Elements of the NIS 177 East Jerusalem plan:
- NIS 90 million: for upgraded infrastructure and for domestic waste treatment in Arab neighborhoods
- NIS 16 million: for treatment, regulation, and enforcement of laws dealing with construction waste in Jerusalem, and for rehabilitation of areas that were contaminated by waste
- NIS 61 million: for new sewage systems in Arab neighborhoods
- NIS 10 million: for education, awareness, and communal activities in East Jerusalem
Reducing Vehicular Air Pollution Across Jerusalem
The government has also agreed to allocate NIS 10 million to help the Jerusalem municipality establish a low-emission zone (LEZ) in the center of town, from which polluting diesel vehicles will be prohbited from entering.
Another NIS 10 million will go toward the installation of particulate filters in 100 diesel-fueled buses throughout 2017.
In addition, NIS 4 million will be used to subsidize the purchase of 10 electric public buses.