Moshav May Sue Plant for Green Violations

The residents of Nir Galim, a moshav near Ashdod, are threatening to sue one of the largest chemical plants in Israel, Agan Chemicals, for what they claim are environmental violations. The residents are demanding immediate action to eliminate what they call environmental irritants that are seriously undermining their quality of life and posing a threat to their lives.

In a letter to factory management on behalf of the residents, attorney Orit Elbak-Marom argued that they suffer from bad smells, air pollution and noise originating from the Agan factory 200 meters from their homes.

According to the attorney's letter, the residents are exposed to dangerous substances emitted into the atmosphere from the various parts of the plant that produces pesticides, among other products.

"My clients have solid information based on findings from environmental sampling and measurements to identify air pollution, that were carried out in the environs of the moshav and the factory at different times, both by official bodies and also on a private basis," Elbak-Marom writes.

"These measurements clearly show the presence of many pollutants, including dangerous materials, in high concentrations that deviate from what is legally acceptable in areas where many families and children live," she wrote.

The company that owns the plant, Agan Machteshim, responded that "the company rejects all claims made in the letter.

The Agan plant has always followed the law and all instructions of the Environmental Protection Ministry in all relevant matters."

However, the company does pay compensation to farmers for the negative effect the plant's output has had on neighboring agriculture.