Palestinian pollution

The Gaza strip is drowning in filth, says Al-Jazeera. How bad is it?

With no sewage plant, Gaza’s waste is dumped into the sea, making it unsafe for fishing or swimming according to a recent report.

It was envisioned to be Gaza’s open-ended source of possibilities. But the Gaza shore is now too polluted to use safely.

It is estimated that 20 million cubic metres of raw sewage are pumped into the sea every year through 14 discharge outlets spanning the 42km-long shore.

The stench is unbearable but it was the skin rashes children developed after swimming that drove Ramadan Abu Seif, a resident of the Al-Shate refugee camp, which is next to one of the sewage-discharge outlets, to act.

He says that he has to tell children playing by the sea to stay away. “They are kids, they don’t know”, he says.

Why is nothing being done? A treatment plant would cost $200 million, and naturally it’s someone else’s fault that there is no money:

With international sanctions still choking the struggling Palestinian economy and no political horizon in sight, addressing this menacing problem will have to wait while the cost of politics and occupation continues to mount.

Not exactly. During the Arafat years, lterally billions were stolen, much of that by Arafat himself, from international funds given to the Palestinians for exactly this kind of project. And as I wrote recently, there has been no reduction in international aid to the Palestinians as a result of the sanctions. Where is the money going?

14,000 assault rifles were smuggled into Gaza in 2006. At a cost of $1,300 per AK-47 (the price has since dropped due an excess of supply), that alone would have cost $18 million. Certainly a good start.

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