Cause of Yarkon Pollution Still Not Known

The Environmental Protection Ministry still does not know how a sewage pipe near Hiriya has been polluting the Yarkon Stream and Tel Aviv-area beaches for a month.

Yesterday, the ministry discovered it lacks the budget for repairs, which it started a few weeks ago.

Thousands of dead fish were found in the Yarkon Tuesday and yesterday due to the leak.

At a press conference yesterday to mark the end of Environmental Protection Minister Gideon Ezra's term, Ezra said the ministry still did not know what had caused the problem. He admitted there were bureaucratic problems in coordinating between various authorities involved, and this made it more difficult to address the matter.

"We are trying to set up an emergency line immediately, to bypass the leaking sewage pipe," said Ezra. The pipe serves residents of the Ono Valley area.

Ezra and ministry director general Shai Avital also said they still do not have the budget to finish the bypass pipe.

Raw sewage is collected behind a dam, but due to the rains, the dam has burst several times.

The pollution led the authorities to close beaches this week. If the problem is not solved soon, the start of the bathing season in a month may be delayed.