Semi-Annual Report 2015
Sustainable Industry Project
In the past year, we have successfully achieved many objectives set in the “Industrial Hush” reports, publishing 6 reports on air pollution in the Haifa Bay area:
• 2013-2014 Emission Inventory – We conducted a press conference in November 2013, during which we presented the local and national media with the emission inventory published by the Ministry of Environmental Protection and the Haifa District Municipal Association for Environmental Protection as compared to air monitoring data in Israel and around the world. The aim of the report was to demonstrate that the Haifa region, despite its multiple monitoring stations, is hardly monitored.
• 2012 Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (PRTR) – Review of 2012 data for 2012.
• Pollutant Release and Transfer Register – Comparison between 2012 and 2013 figures.
• Comprehensive report on air monitoring in the Haifa Bay in 2014 – A comprehensive report, first of its kind, examining the air monitoring array in the Haifa Bay area – what is and is not monitored, and what are the results.
• Haifa Port – A special report examining the aspects of air pollution derived of the Haifa port.
• A specially commissioned report that compares emissions from Israeli industries to those in Germany, while placing an emphasis on the environmental burden of the oil refinery industry. The study was led by Prof. Ofira Ayalon and Prof. Abraham Haim of Haifa University.
All of the reports were published on the website and in the media. In addition to the compilation of the data and the preparation of professional reports, activity in the Haifa Bay area in 2014 was characterized by extensive public involvement: dozens of lectures and meetings with the public and with activists, creating a dedicated page and group called “Cleaning Up the Haifa Bay”, organizing demonstrations (the largest of which took place on May 3rd 2015 with 1,500 residents who came to participate in the protest from all over the country and from the entire Bay area – Arabs and Jews alike), meetings and correspondence with all regional authorities, seminars, participation in Knesset subcommittee discussions on Haifa Bay issues and preparing documents and position papers. Great efforts were invested in the interaction with all Haifa Bay authority heads – 22 local authorities: we met with most of them, but the main effort was directed to the Haifa Municipality and Yona Yahav, mayor of Israel’s third largest city and the strongest city in the entire metropolitan area. Everyone, ourselves included, expect Yona Yahav to lead the region in a sustainable development program against the current situation and planning institution intentions (massive increase of the industry in the Bay area by adding a port, another large industrial zone east of the refineries and significantly enlarging the refineries themselves).
See this report IN ENGLISH on i24 News - "Haifa air pollution links to Cancer"
Public Health Coalition
Since late 2013, we have been managing and maintaining the partnership and activity of the Public Health Coalition in the Haifa Bay area. Liora Amitai headed the Coalition until early 2014 and Jameela Hardel Wachim has been a member of the executive committee since February 2015.
Midot Seal of Effectiveness
We underwent an external evaluation by Midot in late 2014, entitling us to the Midot Seal of Effectiveness in December 2014, valid for the next three years.
Consumption and Sustainability Culture
We conducted several workshops on nutrition and sustainability; initiated the production of two special guides on sustainable consumption and published many articles and pamphlets online (website and Facebook).
Transparency and Publication of Environmental Information
Over the last six months, we continued to work toward the implementation of the Freedom of Information Law and ensuring full public disclosure of environmental information. We employed students to conduct several surveys to determine the manner at which the law is implemented by the authorities (local authorities and public institutions), filed dozens of petitions for information, sent letters and warnings and we are now on the verge of filing another administrative petition against the Ministry of Environmental Protection.
Unfortunately, not only is the information not proactively published by the authorities, but also the attention dedicated to our requests for information is problematic and a great deal is not disclosed to the public, despite legal proceedings on the matter.
Nevertheless, the current situation is much improved compared to previous years.
The quantity of environmental information published by the authorities is constantly increasing. The Ministry of Environmental Protection publishes a large portion of the information in its possession; we continuously monitor its website and databases, alert them to any problem with locating information and the Ministry responds and continues to improve its databases. Still, we are required to struggle in order to obtain important information – mainly full and raw data relating to the large industries.
The local authorities and municipal associations are also improving their websites and we monitor alert them to various issues consistently.
Over the last six months, we also contacted all of the medical centers and hospitals (public) that have not yet implemented the law and published environmental information. As a result, some have begun to publish the information and we intend to take legal measures against those that have not.
It is important to note that this situation, in which hospitals disclose information on their emissions, radiation and water testing performed at the hospital, reflects revolutionary progress compared to 2007, when we began working on the Industrial Hush Reports. Back then, no one understood what we were talking about, no one was aware of the law and some did not even know that they were obligated to conduct samples.
Working with Students and Academic Clinics
This year, we extended the scope of activities conducted with students and, inter alia, worked with students from Tel Aviv University, Haifa University, Carmel Academic Center and Bar Ilan University. In all, we worked with approximately 17 students, Jews and Arabs, 13 of whom study law and specialize in freedom of information, while the others major in communications, new media and public health.
One of our student volunteers will begin his law internship at the Associaiton in mid-2015 and will integrate within the legal department that we have been establishing with the aim of extending our legal activity.
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