Skip to comments.UN: Gaza is dumping sewage into the sea
Posted on 05/01/2008 4:19:11 PM PDT by SJackson
Gaza's water authority has dumped 60 million liters of partially treated and untreated sewage into the Mediterranean Sea since January 24, the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in a report released on Wednesday.
A Palestinian rescue worker searches for bodies in raw sewage after a cesspool embankment collapsed in the village of Umm Naser, in the northern Gaza Strip. An earth embankment around a cesspool suddenly collapsed, spewing a river of sewage and mud that killed at least 10 people. Photo: AP , AP
Slideshow: Pictures of the week "The sewage discharge is contaminating Gaza seawater and posing health risks for bathers and consumers of seafood. The sewage flows northward to Israeli coasts, including near the Ashkelon desalination plant. Urgent studies are needed to examine the extent of the impact," the report reads.
The report's authors blamed Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip for the Gazans' inability to treat the sewage.
"This sewage cannot be treated due to the lack of a steady electricity supply within the Gaza Strip, Israel's restrictions on fuel imports and prohibitions on the import of materials and necessary spare parts," according to the report.
The UN said Gaza's water authority, the Coastal Municipalities Water Utility, required 14 days of uninterrupted electricity to treat the sewage. The utility provides more than 130 million cubic meters of water per year, according to the report, 80 percent of which ends up as sewage. Moreover, because of the restrictions on imports and exports into and out of the Strip, spare parts needed to repair the sewage treatment plants had not been allowed in.
But a security source familiar with the situation told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday that the vast majority of Gaza's electrical needs were being met by Israel and Egypt.
"Gaza is receiving 141 megawatts a day out of [its normal requirements of] 200 megawatts at this time from Israel and Egypt," the source said.
He also said Hamas should be dealing with the issue. "Hamas is in charge there now and they should find a solution to the problem," he told the Post.
Israel Water Authority spokesman Uri Schor said the problem was not new and that Israel was doing all it could to help Gaza process its sewage.
"The Palestinians have been pumping partially treated or untreated sewage water into the sea for years, and not just since the beginning of this year. The State of Israel assists in various ways to the pumping and water distribution and to the continued operation of the sewage treatment plants. That assistance includes approval to transfer most of equipment the Palestinian Authority has requested - the rest is in the process of being verified - and all the diesel fuel necessary to run the plants," Schor said.
These plants had not been affected by any cutbacks to electricity, he said.
The sewage isn't just flowing into the sea, but into empty lagoons meant to handle runoff from storms, according to the UN. Lagoons in Gaza City and the Jabalya refugee camp have been turned into open cesspools.
Long-term plans to improve the sewage treatment system have been drawn up, but were being held up by Israel, the UN report said.
"KfW, the German government's development bank, has agreed to work with CMWU [the Coastal Municipalities Water Utility] on a project to upgrade the Gaza sewage treatment plant. The project, which will cost between $7 million [and] $15m., could begin by the end of April 2008 if the Israeli authorities allowed the passage of material and equipment. The project will allow the plant to treat 60 million liters of sewage per day and use the treated sewage for agricultural purposes or to directly replenish Gaza's depleted fresh water aquifer," according to the report. A plan to build a new plant in northern Gaza is also being held up, according to the UN.
However, Schor said Israel was not holding up those projects but in fact actively aiding them.
"Israel is very much assisting in the approval, funding [$45m.] and in executing a large project to deal with northern Gaza's sewage, despite the continuing situation," he said, "Likewise, the construction of a large treatment plant in central Gaza has also been approved, and Israel is willing to help build two more plants in the southern region of the Strip."
Schor suggested the PA follow Israel's example and use treated sewage water for agriculture in place of potable water.
"Right now, 70% of Israel's sewage is treated and recycled, and the plan is to recycle all of it.
"In the PA, all of the agriculture uses freshwater, and using recycled sewage water would enable the Palestinians to redirect tens of millions of cubic meters of water for household use," he said. Responsible management by the PA would add a respectable amount of expensive freshwater to their supply, he said.
This is what happens when the lunatics are allowed to run the asylum.
Will the Enviros now go ballistic against the Palestinians? Will their response be “proportional”?
A watery grave for terrorists?
Oil spills are reported in gallons instead of barrels so the number is more impressive. They should be reported in liters so they will be even more impressive.
If Israel cuts off their power again, the sewage pumps will stop working. Problem solved.
“Will the Enviros now go ballistic against the Palestinians? Will their response be proportional?”
No. Selective indignation doesn’t work that way.
Aren’t Hamas idiots throwing rockets at the Ashkelon power plant, anyway, risking destroying their primary power source?
Turn off all the power and water. If they’re going to bomb the hand that feeds them, let them sit in their waste and starve.
A Palestinian rescue worker searches for bodies in raw sewage after a cesspool embankment collapsed in the village of Umm Naser, in the northern Gaza Strip. An earth embankment around a cesspool suddenly collapsed, spewing a river of sewage and mud that killed at least 10 people.
It's also worth noting that USAID has spent millions on sewage facilities for Gaza and the West Bank. At least sent millions.
Makes sense. I'd speculate that anyone skilled enough to make a rocket from pipe and sheet metal would be skilled enough to connect sewage pipes or work in a sewage plant, were they so inclined. It's not like the US isn't sending money to upgrade these facilities.
I didn’t know Jimmah went for a swim while he was there!...
No mention in the story of the brand new treatment plant that the Japanese finished for the Gazas just a few months ago. The Gazas never fired it up. This is the most incompetent, backward, useless bunch anywhere on earth. They’d clearly rather whine and bitch than clean up their own nest and it makes sympathy really hard to deliver.
Sorry, I don’t have a damn bit of sympathy for these useless, violent, ignorant, savage bastards.
None!! Absolutely Zero.
These are the SOB's that were dancing in the streets while my countrymen died at the WTC. Screw'em!!
The petrodollar rich Gulf Sheikhs cry their crocodile tears for their moslem brothers in Gaza while they build their multi-million dollar palaces. Buy one less Airbus, and build a decent sewage system, you filthy weasels.
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