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Industrial Silence – Report No. 3

 

Introduction

This is the third in a series of reports on "Industrial Silence" published by the Citizens for the Environment in the Galilee (CFE) (hereinafter: "the Organization"), which aims to promote sustainable industrial practices in Israel.

In its reports, the Organization examines two central issues:

One, do the industries [1] meet environmental standards as stipulated by law?  And are the requirements and standards up to par with internationally accepted regulations?

Two, do the authorities monitor the industries' environmental practices regularly as determined by law?

The first report related to 25 factories in the Western Galilee

The second report related to 22 factories in the Western Galilee

The current report relates to another 30 factories in the Lower and Western Galilee.



Executive Summary


Locating and Compiling the Information

The process of locating and compiling the information is very similar to those applied in the previous reports and yet the reality is that most of the information is not disclosed to the public and is even difficult to obtain after filing a request for it.  The Ministry of Environmental Protection and a small portion of the local authorities have increased the publication of environmental information - based on the Environmental Information Law (Provision of Information on Environmental Quality to the Public) 5769-2009 (hereinafter: Environmental Information Law). Nevertheless, the published information is still only partial and the mission of obtaining environmental information is very difficult and demands a great deal of time.

For example, the Ministry of Environmental Protection now publishes most of the factories air sampling results (which it receives) on its website.  Conversely, it does not publish the results of the sewage analyses online.

Although this report reviewed factory sampling results for 2009-2010, we also related to the air quality analyses published in 2011.  Our evaluation demonstrated that, during 2011, the Ministry of Environmental Protection published very few analyses on its website.  For example, of all of the factories included in this report, we found air quality results from only two!

Even after filing requests with the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Local Authorities - pursuant to the Environmental Information Law – we only managed to obtain fewer than 40% of the analyses: of the 470 analyses that the 30 factories were required to conduct over two years, we only found ~180 analyses (~40%) and some are partial and/or not all chimneys/substances were properly analyzed.

Most of the sewage analyses were completely unavailable, neither from the local authorities nor from the Ministry of Environmental Protection.  The reason for this lack of information, inter alia, is that the Northern District of the Ministry of Environmental Protection did not fill the position for an industrial waste coordinator in 2009-2010, and hardly any data was collected.

In addition, the data compilation process revealed a significant decline in the number of surprise inspections performed by the Ministry of Environmental Protection over the last two years.

Most of the authorities do not publish information as required under the Public Health Regulations (Effluent Quality Standards and Sewage Treatment Regulations) 5770-2010, known as "Inbar Regulations".  For more information, refer to the separate chapter on this issue.


Industrial Supervision by Authorities in the Upper and Lower Galilee

The report demonstrates that the compilation of information and authority supervision in the evaluated regions (Upper and Lower Galilee) is very lacking compared to the situation in other areas that we examined.  The main reason is a nearly complete lack of involvement by the local authorities and environmental units of this region in all issues pertaining to industrial monitoring. The majority of these authorities do not monitor industrial practices at all, do not methodically compile information and definitely do not publish environmental information.

Of the 12 local authorities and the environmental units operating therein, we found that only the Kiryat Shemona Municipality compiles information and samples pertaining to factories in its jurisdiction!

The remaining authorities do not do so; a large number do not even implement the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act and do not know how to handle requests (in this case, requests for environmental information) submitted accordingly.

Of the 12 authorities, 8 do not operate an environmental unit and even those that do have one, do not monitor the factories or methodically compile information.

It shall be noted that, following the Organization's request, some of the local authorities have changed their approach to the issue.  For example, several of the authorities appointed a Freedom of Information Coordinator; the Jezreel Valley Regional Environmental Unit Director announced that the unit will soon create the position of Industrial Coordinator; the Upper Galilee Regional Environmental Unit Director declared that the objective of regularly compiling information in the unit is one of the main objectives for next year.


Factory Compliance with Legal Requirements

21 of the 27 factories [2] surveyed for the report have not yet fully or partially adjusted their standards to the Israeli standard for air quality (Clean Air Law and related regulations or other laws, respectively).  Some of these factories still operate according to very outdated standards, relate leniently to certain pollutants and are not preparing for the implementation of the new TALUFT 2002 based standards.  By nature, the standards applied by the said factories do not comply with internationally accepted standards.

Only 5 of the 27 factories2 surveyed complied with their air quality standards (as stated, many of which are very lenient).

In 18 of the 30 factories, the standards have not been fully adapted to the Israeli standard on sewage.

Only 6 of the 30 factories performed all of the tests required under the conditions of their business license.  In 13 factories, we were nearly unable to obtain any tests or they did not perform tests at all (3 factories).

At Alset Metal Painting and Finishing Ltd., for example, classified as a Type B factory – the General Manager is unfamiliar with the obligation to conduct sampling tests and the business licenses provisions do not require reporting the results to any entity. It is only after the Organization contacted the General Manager, that he began to study the conditions underlying the licenses and even declared that he intends to begin performing samples shortly.

Of the 30 factories, none complies with all of the testing and standard adherence requirements.

License conditions for various factories in the same industry are inconsistent.  The Tnuva Dairies in Tel Yossef and Alon Tavor, for example, were granted business licenses at the same time, but there are substantial differences between the conditions relating to each one.  For details, see the factory sheets.

Sunfrost and Pri Nir depict a similar example: both factories are involved in fruit and vegetable preservation, but the sewage standards within their licenses are inexplicably different.

In light of these differences, the unavoidable conclusion is that, in most cases, the license conditions are determined by negotiations with the factories and adjusted to their requirements and not the legal stipulations.

The substantial shortage of sampling results for 15 factories, mainly in terms of sewage, it was impossible to determine their compliance with the required conditions.


Factory Cooperation

Seeing that we were unable to obtain information from the authorities, we contacted the factories themselves and tried to obtain the information from them and even visit them.

Most of the surveyed factories cooperated with the Organization whether almost fully (8 factories were rated 4 or 5) or partially (12 factories were rated 1-3).


Additional Conclusions

1. Sewage Treatment Facilities: Of the three facilities surveyed, the conditions in two were updated in accordance with the Public Health Regulations (Effluent Quality Standards and Sewage Treatment Regulations) 5770-2010 (Inbar Regulations).

Most of the periodic tests conducted by the sewage treatment facilities are partial, relating only to a small potion of the pollutants and hazardous materials that they are required to test by law and pursuant to the terms of their business licenses.  Therefore, even where tests performed by a certain facility were found to be compliant, this compliance is highly doubtful seeing that most of the hazardous materials are not tested by the sewage treatment facilities.

2. Quarry: The report assessed three quarries: the Golani Quarry, Amiad Quarry and Kfar Giladi Quarry.  The standards set for the three quarries are still based on the old standard set forth in the Hazard PreventionRegulations (Preventing Quarry Air and Noise Pollution), 5758-1998, and they were not adapted to the TALUFT 2002 standards.

3. Hospitals: The work and authorities are not clearly divided among the entities in charge of supervising the hospitals: Ministry of Environmental Protection, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Employment, Ministry of Infrastructures and the local authorities.  No clear and comprehensive standards were determined for hospital emissions and most of the hospital sampling results are unavailable.  For more information, refer to the separate chapter on this issue.

 

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    

Air Standards27 Factories (Not including 3 waste water purification institutes which these tests are not relevant to them)

 

  
 
 


Effluent Standards: 30 Factories

 
 
 


Rating of Factories: 30 Factories

 Factory Collaboration
 Frequency of tests
 Compliance with tests


*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    


Conclusions and Recommendations


For Local Authorities

1. In the current situation, where the Ministry of Environmental Protection is only capable of monitoring a very small portion of the factories in Israel, there is no choice but allowing other entities to take part in this effort.  The local authorities must immediately begin to monitor factories in their jurisdiction, including the compilation of information, controlling and sanctioning, where necessary.

The OECD findings in the final reports for 2011 reveal similar figures: "Many of the local authorities are limited in their ability to exercise the authorities recently granted thereto as pertaining to the issuance of permits and enforcement".

The Lower and Upper Galilee local authorities did not establish any municipal unions on environmental quality.  Pursuant to the abovementioned paragraph, the said OECD report also calls for increased implementation of the environmental policy at the local level by subjecting governmental subsidies to the establishment of environmental units within municipalities.

The existing environmental units must monitor the industry and enforce the legal requirements, and authorities with no environmental unit should either establish one or join existing regional units.

The current situation demonstrates that where there is a municipal union on environmental quality (and not just environmental units) – such as the Western Galilee Municipal Union – the monitoring level and frequency increases, mainly for medium and small factories. If such a union is established then, unlike the Western Galilee Municipal Union, the authorities must be clearly divided among the Union, the Ministry of Environmental Protection and the local authorities, and the public and factories must be updated of the said distribution.

2. Implement the Environmental Information Law (Provision of Information on Environmental Quality to the Public) 5769-2009 (58 authorities have been obligated since September 2010 and the others will be obligated as of March 2012).

3. Implement, without delay, the Local Authorities Law (Environmental Enforcement – Authority Invested in Local Inspectors), 5768-2008.

4. Imposing regulations obliging factories to publish the results of their periodic sampling.  These regulations should be clearly stated in the business permits issued to industries, obliging them to publish this information on their websites.


For Factories

1. Factories should implement Best Available Technology (BAT) on their own initiative and not wait for regulations to be imposed. It has already been proven universally that while investment is required, the implementation of pollution reduction technologies (Corporate Responsibility) is economically worthwhile in the long-term.

2. Factories should improve their wastewater treatment systems immediately. Large industries must examine the possibility of establishing a wastewatertreatment system within their factory complexes, so as not to contaminate themunicipal sewage systems.

3. Factories using large quantities of water, such as Tower Semiconductor – where water consumption is equivalent to the quantity used by a city of 25,000 residents - should reuse water.  This reflects a very large quantity of sewage filled with hazardous materials and metals, flowing to the regional treatment center and greatly burdening its operations.

4. They should hold periodic tests in the employees’ environment, as determined by law, including the entire range of toxic substances held by the factory and used in the production process.

5. They should publish information on the implementation of Best AvailableTechnologies (BAT), and on the results of their periodic sampling. Thisinformation should be made available on company websites. The public nolonger believes in generalizations, such as the type that ordinarily appear inthe publications of different industries with references to “environmental andsocial commitment”. Industries are required to compile trustworthy informationand make statements that are fully reliable and transparent

6. Special recommendations for hospitals - Hospitals should conduct pretreatment of medical material residues in a special facility prior to their releaseinto the municipal sewage system.


Government Offices

Since the responsibility and authority for environmental regulation and enforcement over industrial practices lies mainly with the Ministry of Environmental Protection, in order to improve its power under the law in this respect, the Ministry of Environmental Protection should:

1. Continue to substantially increase the number of personnel and recruit additional professionals to its districts environmental units in order to implement supervision and control more efficiently, and to obligate the environmental units to activate ongoing industry supervision.

2. Improve the data collection process to make it more comprehensive and professional, [3] so that the enforcement system could be prepared to issue indictments as close as possible to the date of the offense. This would ensure efficient implementation of legislation against violating industries; and prevent foot dragging and ongoing harm to the environment.

3. Set up a monitoring and enforcement program in accordance with predetermined guidelines and publish it to the authorities and the public. [4]

4. Define organized procedures and terms for data collection, and efficiently distribute issues and supervisory responsibilities between the Ministry, the regional environmental units, and the local authorities. The Ministry of Environment must additionally publish the data, so that every factory will know exactly who supervises them, and also so that the public knows who to turn to for help.

5. Stop "negotiating" with the local polluters.

6. Adapt conditions stipulated in business licenses to internationally acceptable standards, including standards for air pollution prevention and sewage treatment.

7. Determine that business licenses obligate publishing information on periodic sampling and assure that industries will be required to publish such information on their websites.

8. Promote the establishment of wastewater treatment systems on the premises of large factories, to prevent contamination of the municipal sewage systems.


Alter the way hospitals are licensed by the Ministry of Health and theMinistry of Environmental Protection, so that these institutions aresubject to the same methods and regulations that govern industries, asa prerequisite for obtaining their business permits.

The Ministry of Health, Ministry of Environmental Protection and Ministry of Infrastructures (Water Authority) must begin publishing information as required under the Public Health Regulations (Effluent Quality Standards and Sewage Treatment Regulations) 5770-2010.

The Water Authority must require sewage treatment facilities to publish their periodic tests, annual tests, reports on exceptional events and faults, sewage quality tests performed in factories and permits granted for directing exceptional waste on their websites, pursuant to its authority under the Water and Sewage Union Regulations that have recently come into force.


For Employees in Factories

1. Employees in factories must avoid exposure: If their workplace uses toxic substances, they could be harmed by breathing them and through contact.  Toxic substances are also absorbed by clothes and the skin. Employees must meticulously adhere to safety instructions, be equipped and use safety gear.

2. They must demand periodic testing and sampling of their work environments bytheir employers, including the entire range of toxic substances they come in contact with.

3. They must demand that their employers implement BAT to prevent leakage of toxic materials.

4. They must get tested periodically - blood tests can detect the presence of toxins in the bloodstream. Tests must include the majority of substances that employees come into contact with on a daily basis.


For the Residents and the Public

1. Apparently, there is hardly any supervision in the factories as required by law.  This being the case, the public should be alert and proactive in detecting information on industrialpractices in their residential environment. Well kept areas and green lawns in industrial employment zones could sometimes also include dangerous facilities.

2. They must request additional information about the environmental conduct ofindustries, from the authorities and directly from the factories.

3. They must act for civil enforcement [5] against polluting factories in their residential areas.


For the Knesset

1. The Knesset must initiate legislation to authorize the publication of business licensing terms regarding industrial sewage.

2. The Knesset must redefine the control mechanisms and supervisory authorities of the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Environmental Protection and other Government Ministries, as related to hospitals.






[1] "Industries" include hospitals and sewage treatment plants.

[2] Excluding three sewage treatment facilities to which air pollution emissions are irrelevant.

[3] More and varied types of evidence should be collected, regarding sampling as well as documenting residents’ reports.

[4] The EU requires that member states reveal their supervisory regulations, for enhanced transparency and public monitoring

[5] Residents can contact CFE for information and consultation



 

 


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אתם כאן: דף הבית Executive Summary and Recommendations