In Israel, all beaches on the Mediterranean have been closed indefinitely after tons of tar washed up on hundreds of kilometers of beach. The government calls it one of the worst environmental disasters the country has already faced.
“ The enormous amount of tar that has appeared on the coasts from the south to the north of Israel in recent days is causing one of the most serious ecological disasters that have ever hit our country, ” the government agency responsible for nature and the environment said. parks in Israel. “Of 190 kilometers of beaches in Israel, 170 kilometers were affected by the ecological disaster,” she wrote on her Facebook page on Sunday. “It’s not over yet and tar continues to grow on the shores.”
According to Israel, a large oil spill in an unknown place at sea is the cause of the pollution, which was first spotted on Wednesday. A winter storm made it more difficult to see tar rising in the sea, authorities say. If that had happened, it might have been possible to prevent the stuff from reaching land.
The Department of Environmental Protection suspects a tanker has lost oil, the newspaper reports Haaretz. Attempts are now being made to trace that ship.
Several animals have already died after contact with the tar. These are various birds and sea turtles that were found with the black sticky substance on them. Other sea turtles could still be saved. According to researchers, a washed up whale would have died after the animal ingested tar.
There are further fears for the survival of a rare snail species, the Dendropoma Petraeum. The species was only recently rediscovered, after not being seen for a quarter of a century.
Last weekend, thousands of soldiers and volunteers helped remove the oil residue from the beaches. The toxic fumes that were inhaled in the process forced some of them to go to hospital. The authorities then concluded that the beaches could be closed better. Soldiers now come fully packed to clean the beaches.
Cleaning the beaches can cost millions of euros and take years. If it is found which ship is responsible for the disaster, Israel can take legal action.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praises the work of the Department of Environmental Protection, but different environmental organizations think differently. In a joint press conference they argue that the ministry has too little budget and that legislation must be changed so that such environmental disasters can be prevented.
On Twitter, Israeli Environment Minister Gila Gamliel said that everything is being done “to find those responsible for the disaster.”
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