Earth Day 2021 overshadowed by illegal junkyards

In the last few years, the industry of illegal junkyards has grown, turning into a serious, widespread, national problem. Criminals view the illegal disposal of waste as worthwhile and profitable, and too often they manage to escape punishment.

Removal contractors “save” the costs of properly dealing with waste at licensed landfill sites by simply offloading trash in the middle of the natural environment. As part of this industry, millions of shekels swap hands, sometimes even serving other illegal purposes. Everyone benefits – except, of course, the residents who live near the junkyards, and the environment itself.

In wadis, old quarries, and abandoned fields throughout the Land of Israel, you can find all kinds of waste scattered across the ground: regular garbage, construction waste, electronic waste, and even carcasses of various animals. All this waste affects the topsoil, groundwater, and air quality. Untreated effluents and other materials also cause major, long-term damage to the environment.

Illegal junkyards are active all over Israel – however, they are particularly common in the Negev and Judea & Samaria. In these two areas, a sore lack of effective governance allows for environmental criminals to act without fear of personal consequence. Since Regavim was founded 15 years ago, we have dealt with dozens of illegal junkyards. In a number of cases, we filed petitions that resulted in some junkyards being shut down, while others are still being challenged in the legal realm.

In each case, we make a point to stress that this is an industry; it’s well-planned, organized, environmental abuse. Like with other illegal activity, enforcement and punishment should be carried out to the fullest extent. The hundreds of illegal junkyards throughout Israel must be closed right now!

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