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The chairman of the board of directors of the Israel Airports Authority (IAA), Ovadia Eli, instructed the management of Ben-Gurion International Airport to prepare an operative plan to promote its functioning as "a green airport," following the IAA board's decision last week to transform Ben-Gurion into "a leader in environmental protection, while achieving the best possible balance between environmental issues and optimal use of the aviation infrastructure."

The plan prepared by the airport management, led by director general Kobi Mor, should include "targets, timetables and a budget for all the different aspects of environmental issues." The plan will focus on reducing air pollution (greenhouse gases) and water pollution and noise pollution, plus treating dangerous substances, recycling waste, conserving energy and using alternative sources and promoting green construction, while preserving natural resources and panoramic views.

The IAA stated in response that "in accordance with Eli's decision, Ben-Gurion International Airport will continue to operate and supply a high level of service as is the standard at major, modern international airports around the world, while preserving the level of security, assuring safety standards and integrating into the worldwide trend of 'green airports' in the hope of achieving the IAA's targets."

Airports abroad are focusing on reducing environmental impact by formulating multiyear plans on environmental protection and adhering to them. Thus, for example, managers at Los Angeles International Airport, where each year 19 million tons of unused food are thrown away, feared that legislators would bar them from continuing this practice. LAX airport executives decided to develop an experimental program with the nearby sewerage and electricity facilities. The airport ground up the leftover food, and sewerage facilities transferred the mash to huge "digestion tanks." In the next stage, the methane gas emitted by the refuse was transferred to the electricity facility. "We managed to save $12 dollars per ton on waste removal and earn $18 per ton from the electricity," said Louis Rigen, the airport's recycling coordinator.