Ecological disaster in Israel, where much of the northern coast of the Mediterranean Sea has been polluted with tons of tar.
Thousands of volunteers and soldiers are taking part in a huge clean-up operation in the area, but their efforts could take months.
South of Tel Aviv, in the coastal area, huge efforts are being made to clean up the region of a disastrous spill, which has spread at least 1,000 tons of tar over more than 160 kilometers of beach. Israeli officials say it is one of the country’s worst environmental disasters.
Itzik Pilli, a volunteer: “From north to south, more than 90% of Israel’s beaches are polluted. It’s the biggest pollution since 1948, maybe even before.”
To show the scale of the catastrophe, environmental activists posted pictures of various marine creatures covered in tar. In addition, the body of a 17-meter-long whale was found on a beach. At the autopsy, hydrocarbon remains were found in the mammal’s body.
In addition to volunteers, the military is also involved in the cleanup operation, and the area was also visited by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Locals have been warned to stay away from the affected shores, as exposure to tar can be harmful to health.
The ecological disaster also affects tourism. Israeli authorities have decided to close all beaches in the Mediterranean until the danger is removed.
The investigation shows that the oil spill occurred about two weeks ago, but the exact cause has not been established at the moment. There are 9 suspicious boats that were in the area at that time.
Cleaning the entire region is expected to take several months, at best. Eliminating pollution will cost millions of dollars, according to the Israeli environment minister. However, identifying the culprits will allow legal action to be taken and damages to be recovered.
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