The last remaining garbage dump site situated near a major Israeli city is to close by the end of the year. After using the Abu Dis site for many decades, Jerusalem will use the Effeh landfill in the south. It also plans to recycle a large part of the city's waste rather than send it for burial.
After the Six-Day War, Jerusalem's waste started to be disposed of at a site near Abu Dis, east of Jerusalem. As was customary at the time, the garbage there piled up without being treated, recycled or sealed off, becoming a serious environmental hazard. The Jewish settlements in the area and Palestinian villages in the Bethlehem region also sent their garbage to the site. Over the years the overflowing garbage mound was periodically covered with earth, but the site continued to pollute the environment.
Two decades ago, the Environmental Protection Ministry started closing down the open landfills near cities. Instead, the waste was taken to modern sites. However, Jerusalem’s garbage continued to be dumped at Abu Dis, which is run by the Ma'aleh Adumim regional council.
Three years ago, the environment ministry instructed the Jerusalem municipality to gradually reduce its garbage disposal there, as part of a plan to shut it down. Jerusalem started delivering part of its garbage to the Effeh landfill in the Negev's Mishor Rotem area, but the Palestinians continued to dump their garbage at Abu Dis.
This month, the Civil Administration and Environmental Protection Ministry decided to shutter the Abu Dis landfill by mid-December. The move was made possible after the Palestinians set up an alternative waste disposal site near Bethlehem. In addition, Jerusalem intends to transfer a large part of the city's garbage to recycling and energy-producing facilities.
The Abu Dis site will be rehabilitated to stop the emission of dangerous gasses and pollutants, and prepared for public use. The rehabilitation will cost up to an estimated NIS 80 million.
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