Gaza sewage poisons coastline, threatens Israel

Gaza sewage poisons coastline, threatens Israel
In this Tuesday, April 12, 2016 photo, Sewage flows from an outlet into the sea in front of Shati refugee camp in Gaza City. Each day, millions of gallons of raw sewage pour into the Gaza Strip's Mediterranean beachfront, spewing out of a metal pipe and turning miles of once-scenic coastline into a stagnant dead zone. The sewage has damaged Gaza's limited fresh water supplies, decimated fishing zones, and after years of neglect, is now floating northward and affecting Israel as well, where a nearby desalination plant was forced to shut down, apparently due to pollution. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

Each day, millions of gallons of raw sewage pour into the Gaza Strip's Mediterranean beachfront, spewing out of a metal pipe and turning miles of once-scenic coastline into a stagnant dead zone.

The sewage has damaged Gaza's limited fresh water supplies, decimated fishing zones, and after years of neglect, is now floating northward and affecting Israel as well, where a nearby desalination plant was forced to shut down, apparently due to pollution.

"It's certain that Gaza Strip's beaches are completely polluted and unsuitable for swimming and entertainment, especially in the summer," said Ahmed Yaqoubi of the Palestinian Water Authority.

Environmentalists and international aid organizations say that if the problem isn't quickly addressed, it could spell even more trouble on both sides of the border.

But while Israel has a clear interest in Gazans repairing their water infrastructure, that would likely require it to ease restrictions on the import of building materials—which it fears the territory's Hamas rulers could divert for military purposes—and increase the amount of electricity it sells to Gaza.

Poor sewage treatment in Gaza is the result of a rapidly expanding population, an infrastructure damaged during wars with Israel and a chronic shortage of electricity to run the wastewater plants that still function. In 2007, a sewage reservoir overflowed in a village in northern Gaza, drowning five people.

Gaza sewage poisons coastline, threatens Israel
In this Wednesday, April 13, 2016 photo, A woman makes her way with her donkey in sewage water in Mighraqa neighborhood on the outskirts of Gaza City. Each day, millions of gallons of raw sewage pour into the Gaza Strip's Mediterranean beachfront, spewing out of a metal pipe and turning miles of once-scenic coastline into a stagnant dead zone. The sewage has damaged Gaza's limited fresh water supplies, decimated fishing zones, and after years of neglect, is now floating northward and affecting Israel as well, where a nearby desalination plant was forced to shut down, apparently due to pollution. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

An Israeli blockade that has restricted imports, coupled with Palestinian infighting and mismanagement by the Hamas-run government, has compounded the problems for the enclave's 1.8 million residents. Israel and Egypt have maintained a blockade of Gaza since Hamas, an Islamic militant group committed to Israel's destruction, seized power in 2007.

Nasser Abu Saif said he was once happy to live in a beachfront apartment in Shati refugee camp. Now, he avoids swimming in the fetid water near his house.

"There are mosquitoes in the summer and even in the winter," he said. "It makes our lives unpleasant."

Gaza sewage poisons coastline, threatens Israel
In this Wednesday, April 13, 2016 photo, Children make their way in sewage water in Mighraqa neighborhood on the outskirts of Gaza City. Each day, millions of gallons of raw sewage pour into the Gaza Strip's Mediterranean beachfront, spewing out of a metal pipe and turning miles of once-scenic coastline into a stagnant dead zone. The sewage has damaged Gaza's limited fresh water supplies, decimated fishing zones, and after years of neglect, is now floating northward and affecting Israel as well, where a nearby desalination plant was forced to shut down, apparently due to pollution. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

Several aid groups have attempted to solve the sewage problem.

Steen Jorgensen, country director for the World Bank in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, said the fatal sewage flood spurred his office to build a $73 million nine years ago. He said the facility, meant to treat about one-fifth of Gaza's sewage, would already be operational if it had a reliable power supply.

Disagreements between Hamas and the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority over fuel taxes have left Gaza's only power plant functioning at reduced capacity. Electricity from neighboring Israel and Egypt help alleviate the shortages, but usually there are only six to eight hours of power each day.

Gaza sewage poisons coastline, threatens Israel
This Thursday, April 14, 2016 photo shows, A filtering water system inside a water station in Gaza City. Each day, millions of gallons of raw sewage pour into the Gaza Strip's Mediterranean beachfront, spewing out of a metal pipe and turning miles of once-scenic coastline into a stagnant dead zone. The sewage has damaged Gaza's limited fresh water supplies, decimated fishing zones, and after years of neglect, is now floating northward and affecting Israel as well, where a nearby desalination plant was forced to shut down, apparently due to pollution. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

"That's just not reliable enough for a sewage plant," said Jorgensen. He said foreign donors, including the United States, have promised to pay for a dedicated 3-megawatt electricity supply to the plant, but Israel so far has not consented.

COGAT, the Israeli defense body responsible for Palestinian affairs, said Israel supplies 125 to 140 megawatts of power a day to the Gaza Strip. "The decision of distributing the electricity falls under the responsibility of the Palestinians," COGAT wrote. In all, Gaza needs some 400 megawatts for its daily needs.

Jorgensen said the World Bank plans to start running the plant in the coming months using backup diesel generators, which will increase the cost and leave sewage treatment vulnerable to fuel shortages. He said the plant will also have solar panels, but they will only generate a fraction of the needed power.

Gaza sewage poisons coastline, threatens Israel
In this Thursday, April 14, 2016 photo, A Palestinian man fills tankers with water to sell at a drinking water station in Gaza City. Poor sewage treatment is a feature of life in Gaza, a result of the rapidly expanding population, an infrastructure damaged during wars with Israel and a chronic shortage of electricity to run the wastewater plants that still function. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

"If we don't get this operational, then I think it's going to be very hard to raise money for other necessary projects in Gaza," Jorgensen said.

The German state-owned development bank KfW has funded the $20 million rehabilitation of an older in Gaza, according to Jonas Blume, director of its West Bank office. Blume said the plant can only run half-days due to lack of power.

Construction is scheduled to begin in August on an additional facility in central Gaza that could handle the sewage of up to 1 million people, Blume added. But he said Israeli security restrictions have slowed the work.

Gaza sewage poisons coastline, threatens Israel
In this Thursday, April 14, 2016 photo, A Palestinian man fills tankers with drinking water for sale at a drinking water station in Gaza City. Poor sewage treatment is a feature of life in Gaza, a result of the rapidly expanding population, an infrastructure damaged during wars with Israel and a chronic shortage of electricity to run the wastewater plants that still function. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

"At the end we get most of the material in, but it's a struggle, it takes time, and it causes delay, which leads to extra costs," he said.

COGAT said deliveries of cement and wood have been suspended or slowed because Hamas diverts materials for "terror" purposes.

The delays in are exacerbating a water crisis. Years of overdrawing Gaza's underground aquifer have allowed seawater to infiltrate into its only source of drinking water. Sewage flows into the aquifer as well.

Gaza sewage poisons coastline, threatens Israel
In this Saturday, April 16, 2016 photo, A Palestinian boy uses a homemade wagon made from a plastic crate to wheel bottles full of drinking water in front of a water supply station in Khan Younis refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip. Poor sewage treatment is a feature of life in Gaza, a result of the rapidly expanding population, an infrastructure damaged during wars with Israel and a chronic shortage of electricity to run the wastewater plants that still function. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

"We can say that 100 percent of the water is not potable," said the Water Authority's Yaqoubi. More than 150 private water purification businesses have proliferated across Gaza to offer clean drinking water, he said.

Eitemad Abu Khader lives with her four daughters in a cinderblock home surrounded by corrugated zinc north of Gaza City. Sewage collects in huge ponds next to their neighborhood. Abu Khader said she cannot afford purified water. Instead, she and her daughters drink tap water and bear the consequences.

"I spend my time from doctor to doctor, hospital to hospital," she said. "My daughters always have rashes."

Gaza sewage poisons coastline, threatens Israel
In this Saturday, April 16, 2016 photo, A Palestinian man fills a water tank on his horse cart with drinking water for sale from a water station in the Khan Younis refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip. Poor sewage has damaged Gaza's limited fresh water supplies, decimated fishing zones, and after years of neglect, is now floating northward and affecting Israel as well, where a nearby desalination plant was forced to shut down, apparently due to pollution. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

On a recent afternoon, her oldest daughter, six-year-old Fayza, sat scratching her arm as insects hovered around them.

There are signs that the problem is now beginning to affect Israel.

Israeli Water Authority spokeswoman Ilana Keren said a desalination plant near Ashkelon, about 10 kilometers (6 miles) north of Gaza, was shut in January and February "because of the quality of the raw water."

Gaza sewage poisons coastline, threatens Israel
In this Saturday, April 16, 2016 photo, A Palestinian man sells drinking water in Khan Younis refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip. Poor sewage has damaged Gaza's limited fresh water supplies, decimated fishing zones, and after years of neglect, is now floating northward and affecting Israel as well, where a nearby desalination plant was forced to shut down, apparently due to pollution. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

She did not elaborate, but Gidon Bromberg, the Israeli director of the environmental group EcoPeace Middle East, said "there's no doubt" it was waste from Gaza. "There's no other source," he said.

Bromberg warned that cholera, typhoid or other pandemic diseases could easily cross into Israel via the shared underground aquifer and the sea.

"It's a single shared bathtub," Bromberg said. "There's 101 different ways for these bacterium to be transferred."

Gaza sewage poisons coastline, threatens Israel
In this Saturday, April 16, 2016 photo, A Palestinian woman uses a damaged plastic water bucket to collect drinking water in her house in Khan Younis refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip. Poor sewage has damaged Gaza's limited fresh water supplies, decimated fishing zones, and after years of neglect, is now floating northward and affecting Israel as well, where a nearby desalination plant was forced to shut down, apparently due to pollution. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

Ashkelon deputy mayor Yoram Shefer said he fears that without a wider political settlement, the sewage issue will not improve, even though he believes the is safe enough to swim in.

"The Mediterranean sea is big. Not all () goes to Ashkelon," he said.

  • Gaza sewage poisons coastline, threatens Israel
    In this Saturday, April 16, 2016 photo, A Palestinian woman uses a damaged plastic water bucket to collect drinking water in her house in Khan Younis refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip. Poor sewage has damaged Gaza's limited fresh water supplies, decimated fishing zones, and after years of neglect, is now floating northward and affecting Israel as well, where a nearby desalination plant was forced to shut down, apparently due to pollution. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
  • Gaza sewage poisons coastline, threatens Israel
    In this Saturday, April 16, 2016 photo, A Palestinian woman washes dishes with water stored in a damaged plastic water tank in her house in Khan Younis refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip. Poor sewage has damaged Gaza's limited fresh water supplies, decimated fishing zones, and after years of neglect, is now floating northward and affecting Israel as well, where a nearby desalination plant was forced to shut down, apparently due to pollution. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
  • Gaza sewage poisons coastline, threatens Israel
    In this Saturday, April 16, 2016 photo, A Palestinian family fill plastic gallons with drinking water they bought from a vendor in Khan Younis refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip. Poor sewage has damaged Gaza's limited fresh water supplies, decimated fishing zones, and after years of neglect, is now floating northward and affecting Israel as well, where a nearby desalination plant was forced to shut down, apparently due to pollution. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
  • Gaza sewage poisons coastline, threatens Israel
    In this Saturday, April 16, 2016 photo, A Palestinian boy waits to fill plastic gallons with drinking water from a vendor in Khan Younis refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip. Poor sewage has damaged Gaza's limited fresh water supplies, decimated fishing zones, and after years of neglect, is now floating northward and affecting Israel as well, where a nearby desalination plant was forced to shut down, apparently due to pollution. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
  • Gaza sewage poisons coastline, threatens Israel
    In this Saturday, April 16, 2016 photo, Palestinian children fill plastic gallons with drinking water from a vendor in Khan Younis refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip. Poor sewage has damaged Gaza's limited fresh water supplies, decimated fishing zones, and after years of neglect, is now floating northward and affecting Israel as well, where a nearby desalination plant was forced to shut down, apparently due to pollution. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
  • Gaza sewage poisons coastline, threatens Israel
    In this Saturday, April 16, 2016 photo, A Palestinian man carries plastic gallons he filled with drinking water from a vendor, background, in Khan Younis refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip. Poor sewage has damaged Gaza's limited fresh water supplies, decimated fishing zones, and after years of neglect, is now floating northward and affecting Israel as well, where a nearby desalination plant was forced to shut down, apparently due to pollution. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

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May 03, 2016
The entire Middle East is a political and religious sewer.

We would be much better off without it.

May 03, 2016
The entire Middle East is a political and religious sewer.

We would be much better off without it.


How we going to do without it? Looks to me like they are in the world to stay and you are stuck with them.

May 03, 2016
It is a lesson in politics: Do not summon what you cannot banish. (Hamas)

May 03, 2016
It is a lesson in religion.

We should have outgrown it.

May 03, 2016
It is a lesson in religion.
Non Cher. It is more fundamental than that. It is a lesson in the thing we all have in us that makes us human. Tribalism, plain and simple. Religion is just a false way of justifying the superiority of one tribe over some "other" tribe.

We should have outgrown it.
Can't outgrow it Skippy. It is in our genes. Without the tribe, we are not human.

What we should do is wise up and let the "other" tribes be "other-ly" without trying to force them to be "us-ly". Unless there is a compelling reason to get involved with their tribal business we should leave it alone.

But it is only going to get worse as the world gets more crowded, and there are not enough resources for all the "other" tribes to live like you and I do. Individuals IMMIGRATE to change tribes. Whole tribes MIGRATE to get what other tribes have.

May 03, 2016
Stay where you are.

You do not get my EV.

May 03, 2016
Stay where you are.
I plan to. There is not anywhere I would rather be.

You do not get my EV.
An electric car would not do what I need, and it will be 40 or 30 years before I'll need a "Hover-Around".

May 04, 2016
This article is about the horrible sewage problem in Gaza, not your EV, gkam. This all could have been avoided if Israel had treated the Palestinian people with respect and tolerance back in 1948 after Israel became a state. And now it's too late with Hamas in power over these poor folks.
It's a shame that the Israeli gov is too thick headed to give these people a break and let them get the supplies that they need to rebuild their infrastructure.
It's not religion that causes this mess; it's politics and the old superiority complex that's at work in the knesset and the IDF. And there is a bit of racism also on the part of Israel.
Such a shame. I feel very sorry for the kids.

May 04, 2016
It is religion, os. It gives folk the "right" to do whatever evil and nasty stuff they want to others.

We will not survive unless we outgrow out pathetic need for a Cosmic Daddy to tell us we really won't die.

But we will, We will all return to the nothingness from which we arose.

Get used to it.

May 04, 2016
threatens Israel

Sounds like another excuse to carry on with the genocide by the apartheid state that is isreal.

May 04, 2016
It is a lesson in religion.

We should have outgrown it.
George kamburoff should have outgrown his need to lie to get attention.

What happened there?

May 04, 2016
threatens Israel

Sounds like another excuse to carry on with the genocide by the apartheid state that is isreal.

- CD
Exactly. In fact, it's highly doubtful that the occupying forces of the Khazars in the Knesset and the IDF have any regard for the Philistine peoples of Canaan as humans like themselves. Israel treats Palestinians like dogs, except for the fact that dogs in Israel are treated better. This is not what was supposed to happen. The Khazarian Jewish concept of a biblical homeland would not have included Khazars who were converted to the religion, and not actually descended from the patriarch Abraham. DNA tests confirm that their claim to Israel is illegitimate, and that the speakers of Aramaic in Palestine ARE the legitimate inheritors of the land of Israel.
The Arameans had never left the region. Interesting to note that the Knesset has given the Aramaic speakers the title of Aramaics, as a way of dividing Muslim Palestinians from Christian.

May 05, 2016
Here is an interesting development:

https://www.rt.co...germany/

May 07, 2016
The problem in this article is almost entirely political, not technical. As such, I'm not sure why Phys.org thinks this is appropriate for their readership. If you want to argue back and forth over territory and conflicts dating back to the dawn of humanity, do it somewhere else.

May 07, 2016
So why do we give 3 billion dollars a year to Israel? So they can refuel their fighter jets we gave them and complain some more about how hard it is to oppress the Palestinians who's land they stole.

May 08, 2016
Israelis have learned through experience that terrorist groups like Hamas choose to divert "necessary" supplied into weapons against Israel rather than use those supplies to keep people under their "leadership" from dying. In fact, they would rather those people died, because then they can blame Israel instead of their own terrible "leadership."

This is all "Palestinians" making, their own stupidity and pigheadedness. Israel is just a convenient excuse for "Palestinians."

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