|Clean Air Law Comes Into Force|
Demonstrators protest the level of industrial pollution in Israel's air.
Israel’s long-awaited Clean Air Law came into effect on January 1, 2011. The Law was enacted in 2008 following the initiative of NIF grantee Israel Union of Environmental Defense (IUED), which formulated the law, spent five years lobbying for its passage and campaigned with other NIF-supported green organizations to court public opinion. IUED is supported by NIF through the Green Environment Fund.
When it was enacted, then-IUED Executive Director Tsipi Iser Itzik said, “We are proud of the pivotal role IUED has played on the public’s behalf in bringing this landmark bill into law.”
The Clean Air Law sets strict emission standards and regulates procedures for monitoring air quality, and ensures public access to results and information. Most important, the law stipulates heavy fines for polluters. The delay in the law’s enactment allowed the 150 major Israeli factories polluting the country’s air to install the expensive equipment required to decrease pollution, in an attempt to alleviate the actual problem rather than just punish the industries responsible.
EU surveys show that Tel Aviv is the third most polluted city in the European and Mediterranean region after Bucharest and Krakow, and that 1,100 people die annually in the Greater Tel Aviv region as a result of air pollution.
IUED is now campaigning to enforce the law and has protested to the Attorney General after the Ministry of Finance proposed that the Israel Electric Corp. be exempt from compliance until 2016.