If you have been reading the news in Israel lately, then you have likely heard about the West Bank boom. For example, new hospitals and shopping malls are being built, while another 800 plus housing unit is also in the works. Experts believe that the population in Ariel alone will grow to around 100,000 in the upcoming decade. What we are currently seeing is that the infrastructure in place in this region may be unable to keep up with these sudden increases in construction. For example, waste has become a preeminent concern, and it has been a concern that has existed for several years. Ariel has been blamed for the waste that is flowing into Salfit, which is an area that was once a popular destination for families in the area.
Picnicking near this flowing stream and hiking in the surrounding area had been very popular, but now you would not be interested in these types of activities today due to the sewage that is flowing into this valley. Locals are even concerned that the Ariel settlement may continue to produce waste that will flow into the area and impact their standard of living. There are still many questions that remain in regards to all of the various implications and externalities this waste will have on the residents. The West Bank has over 83 million cubic meters of wastewater flow through the area, and 19 million cubic meters is said to have originated from the Israeli settlements. Experts believe that roughly twelve percent of the settlement’s sewage remains untreated and that this sewage is eventually making its way into the streams, and local watershed, which is negatively impacting all of the communities in this area.
Unfortunately, the restrictions placed on Palestinian development in the West Bank region have been stifling the attempts that have been made to create a wastewater treatment facility for this region. This is an issue that is going to impact both Palestine and Israel if it is not resolved in an effective and timely manner. Problems aside, wastewater should not be allowed to flow into the streams, and into the natural watershed and ultimately force many people to move somewhere else in the process. As Ariel continues to grow, the problem of waste will need to be resolved, sooner, rather than later.
Another, quite different consideration, should be the materials used to fuel the construction boom. Certain materials are more ecologically viable than others, and their longevity should also be considered. Material selection in today’s world is more complex than ever, but the wide availability of information can help the construction companies make better material choices for their projects.
This construction blitz in the West Bank has come just in time for Israel’s new bill that would increase construction-site safety in Israel and is an attempt to lower work-related deaths in the country. Unfortunately, while Israel’s construction industry has been growing well in recent years, in many cases when a safety issue had occurred, no one had been held fully responsible. For example, the Labor Ministry has found that around 700 safety violations were leading to severe injury or even fatal accidents between the years of 2012 and 2016 alone. State authorities have also withheld vital information from the public in regards to serious safety issues. This new legislation that has been passed earlier this year will help reduce these grave safety violations, and it ultimately comes at the perfect time, too. The West Bank is not the only region experiencing significant growth, Judah, and Samaria are also experiencing similar building growth too. These projects fulfill the government’s promise of promoting construction and affordable housing in these areas. Ultimately, this new safety legislation will help in providing peace of mind to many of the construction workers and their families during the construction processes. An on-site safety manager will be able to reduce the risks of injury or death in the workplace, and with the promotion of construction intensifying, it’s vital that all of these safety measures will be implemented.