As of: 02/21/2021 4:33 p.m.
All sections of the beach are closed, the authorities are warning of health risks: Israel is struggling with the consequences of oil pollution along its Mediterranean coast. The cause remains unclear and the effects on marine animals are devastating.
Because of an oil spill, Israel has closed all beaches along its Mediterranean coast until further notice. Citizens were urged not to go swimming or to play sports on the beach. The environmental pollution could endanger health, it said to explain.
In the past few days, dozens of tons of tar have washed up there. The pollution has already had a devastating impact on fish, turtles and other marine vegetation. The Israeli Nature and Parks Authority spoke of one of the worst environmental disasters in the country’s history.
Traces of tar along the entire coast
The black tar lumps are said to have been washed ashore by a storm. Experts believe that the unusually violent storm may have either thrown old tar up from the ocean floor or oil was spilled from a cargo ship.
A young fin whale, which was washed up dead on a beach in the south of the country, died according to the findings of scientists from the Ministry of Agriculture of the absorption of the viscous black mass, as the public broadcaster Kan reported. Initially, a statement from the Israeli Nature Conservation and National Park Authority stated that “the arrival of the whale cannot be linked to the tar pollution”.
Purge becomes “long and difficult”
In the past few days, volunteers have been cleaning up the beaches. Several of them were taken to hospitals after inhaling toxic fumes. The ministries for environmental protection, health and home affairs jointly warned the population against entering the entire 195-kilometer stretch of coast that there was a health risk. The Ministry of the Environment promised to find the cause of the pollution.
The ministry said the cleanup would be “long and difficult.”
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the beach near the port city of Ashdod. He said the environment ministry would work out a plan to clean up the beaches. In talks with its southern neighbor, Egypt, it has also been suggested that ships in the Mediterranean should be equipped with environmentally friendly fuel in the future. “When multiple countries work together, we can make a big difference in a few years, keeping the sea, land and beaches clean,” said Netanyahu.