GREEN PEACE activists have built a dam on Israel's Kishon river to block toxic effluents from flowing into the Mediterranean Sea. The effluents are mainly discharged by the heavy petrochemical industries, located along the Kishon, which have turned the river into a virtual waste canal.
A study conducted by the National Oceanographic Institute also confirms that the effluents contain toxic heavy metals, untreated municipal sewage and organic contaminants like organohalogens.
In order to prevent floods, the riverbed is being regularly dredged and the silt is being stored in open pools along the river. When Greenpeace analysed the samples taken from the pool, it found that the silt had high levels of zinc, copper, chromium, cadmium and mercury. "For too long, the industries ignored the marine environment and the health of the local population. The river is dead. We do not want the Mediterranean Sea to suffer a similar fate," said Ofer Ben Dov, Greenpeace Mediterranean campaigner in Israel.
As part of the clean-up operation, Israeli authorities are planning to build a pipe to pump the "treated effluents" from the factories directly into the Mediterranean Sea. But, says Ben Dov, "This plan will help the Kishon river but not the Mediterranean Sea because it would only mean transferring the problem from one place to another."
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