MK Khenin: Unreasonable Concentration of Polluting Industries in Haifa Bay Area

The privatized Israel Oil Refineries Ltd. remains the country’s worst polluter, according to an Environmental Protection Ministry report released Monday night, October 26. The ministry unveiled the data, which includes a survey of 507 factories and their emissions levels, among other information, in its 2014 Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (PRTR).

Residents of Haifa demonstrating against pollution in their city.

Residents of Haifa demonstrating against pollution in their city (Photo: Technion)

For the second consecutive year, Israel Oil Refineries Ltd. (Bazan) has topped the list of worst offenders in terms of emissions release. The Environmental Protection Ministry stressed that this year its officials have filed four complaints against the company’s factories for various air and water pollution violations.

Among the other factories with extremely high emissions levels are the privatized Paz Ashdod Oil Refinery and Rotem Amfert Negev Ltd., the Israel Electric Corporation’s (IEC) Haifa power station, the Dead Sea Works, Tnuva’s Tel Yosef Dairy, the IEC’s Eshkol power station in Ashdod, Carmel Olefins Ltd. and Shemen Industries Ltd. The cities with the highest pollution levels in 2014 were Haifa, Ramat Hovav near Beer-Sheva, Ashdod, the Arab village of Ibilin, Petah Tikva and Netanya.

“A troubling picture is revealed by the unreasonable concentration of polluting industries in Haifa Bay,” MK Dov Khenin (Hadash-Joint List), chairman of the Knesset’s Social Environmental Lobby, wrote Tuesday in a letter to Environmental Protection Minister Avi Gabbay, to express his alarm over some of the figures in the PRTR, noting that four of the 10 most polluting factories are located in the Haifa Bay area. Although praising the National Action Plan for the Haifa Bay Area, Khenin stressed the need to cancel plans to construct a new privatized port, as well as the Northern Lands project – which involves relocating oil tankers to build new residences. “All three plans will increase pollution hazards,” he said.