Mt. Carmel's Forests Are Now Carmel City Dump

Despite recent efforts, Mount Carmel's forests continue to be used for dumping garbage and construction waste, the deputy chairman of a Carmel City committee, Ghassem Natur, told Haaretz.

Two weeks ago, Carmel City (a merger of Daliat al-Carmel and Isfiya soon to be broken up) joined with the Jewish National Fund to clear around 1,500 tons of garbage from the forests. But much more remains.

The forests are being used as a dumping ground because there is no official city dump. Natur said the committee, acting as a city council in the run-up to the demerger in July, had invested more than NIS 1 million in clearing rubbish.

"We're working on the household waste, but most of the garbage in the Carmel is construction waste, discarded furniture, plastics and gas containers," Natur said. "This will go on until we have a provisional dumping site."

Yesterday, two men could be seen emptying municipal garbage cans on Mount Carmel.

Natur acknowledged that unregulated dumping was hurting tourism and risked the spread of diseases, fires and the poisoning of wild animals. But he noted that "our way of life is different from that of a resident of Holon, for instance - we have more garbage, we replace furniture and renovate more often. We receive more guests."

As a result, rubbish piles up next to houses in the area, until the residents remove it to the woods. "But if the state provided us with a provisional dumping site, the residents would take their garbage there," he said.

Natur said the local council had been requesting a permit for such a site for many years, but was constantly rejected; it was told there was no appropriate location. However, the Nature and National Parks Authority agreed to find a location to resolve the matter.

The Environmental Protection Ministry said Daliat al-Carmel and Isfiya both had illegal dumping sites that were closed after the ministry took legal action.

Recently, the ministry and the committee's chairman tried to draft a waste-treatment plan for the area. The plan includes finding private plots and offering the owners deals for construction waste to be concentrated there.

The garbage would then be sent to recycling facilities. Household waste would continue to be transferred to a Galilee dumping site, and compressors would be provided to reduce the accumulation of such waste in the area.