Israel, like every other country in the world, is facing environmental issues. Major cities, such as Haifa, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, are facing severe air pollution problems. One study released in 2003 found that 1,400 Israelis in Ashdod and Tel Aviv die annually, due to exposure to air pollution.
An announcement from the Environmental Protection Minister claims that the Minister aims to scrap diesel vehicles in an attempt to reduce air pollution in the country.
The effort to reduce air pollution is paying off, with the number of deaths attributed to air pollution falling 16% in 2017. Still, over 2,200 Israelis died in 2017 due to air pollution, with half of the deaths being attributed to pollution caused by motor vehicles.
Efforts to reduce diesel vehicles on the roadways will lead to 350 less deaths each year. The figure is equal to the amount of Israelis that die in car accidents. But this is being done on a government level with 260 million NIS being invested to scrap the outdated diesel vehicles. Alternative forms of transportation, filters and clean areas in cities are also being introduced.
Diesel vehicles, while far less common than their gas counterparts, still emit 80% of the pollution. If the plan comes to fruition, estimates suggest that air pollution would be reduced by 30%.
Israelis are also facing water shortages and pollution. Rivers in Israel, except those that are in areas with low population, have been shown to be more polluted than the rivers in Europe and the US. Kishon River has been hit exceptionally hard due to the rise in Haifa Bay’s chemical industry.
Water quality, in 2003, was higher in some developing countries than in Israel. Water shortages are also an issue, but massive efforts to conserve water have helped alleviate some of the water shortage pressure.
Israel’s high-density population is not helping matters either.
Israelis can do a lot to reduce waste, too. Companies are working to become “green,” limiting the amount of waste they produce and the impact that they have on the environment. Companies are moving towards peel and stick wood walls rather than real wood walls, and they’re reducing their carbon footprint with great success.
Israel has experienced an $8 billion boost to the economy thanks to the effort to cut carbon emissions. Startups and small businesses are gaining access to 500 million shekels in loan guarantees to boost energy efficiency. An additional 300 million shekels is being granted for projects that focus on industry efficiency.
Efforts to lower the use of coal are also underway. Ministers hope to reduce coal usage while boosting natural gas as a means to reduce air pollution. Transportation will also be a key focus, with studies looking at ways to reduce travel times and make transportation more efficient overall.
Tax incentives are also being introduced to encourage green building projects and the use of renewable energy.
Overall, I feel that Israel is taking a positive step forward to help the environment, reduce the number of Israeli deaths by air pollution and to increase water quality.