Yarkon National Park
The water lily pond at Yarkon National Park. Photo by Nir Keidar
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Walkers yesterday in the Seven Mills area of the Yarkon River, on the border between Tel Aviv and Ramat Gan, came across a large number of floating dead fish and white froth in the water, an indication that despite recent cleanup work, the Yarkon is still at great risk of pollution.

The latest incident was the result of last weekend's rains that swept pollutants into the river. The head of the Yarkon River Authority, David Pergament, said fish died and white froth appeared every year after rainfalls, and that this week's incident had been more pronounced because the season's first rainfall had been particularly heavy.

"The first rain washes contaminants from urban areas near the stream into the river," Pergament said. "Since there isn't a lot of water in the river at this time of year, there is nothing to dilute the pollution and it harms the fish, among other things."

Pergament added that the white froth was the result of various cleaning materials, remnants of which could be found near the stream, on roads and on the ground. The first rain had also washed oils, fuels and pesticides into the river, he said.

According to the Hydrological Service, the weekend's rainfall was unusually heavy for September - 11 millimeters in the Tel Aviv area.

Pergament said the long-term solution was to allocate more water to the stream throughout the year, particularly high-quality purified sewage from the purification plants of cities near the stream.

A severe contamination incident, which killed almost all the fish in the Yarkon, struck two years ago, due to industrial waste that flowed into the stream following a fire in the Hod Hasharon industrial zone. Last year, the Yarkon River Authority completed construction of a special biological purification system in Hod Hasharon.

Next week, the authority will officially dedicate pedestrian bridges in the eastern part of the stream.