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Asbestos: What we've achieved

 

 

 

In 2013, the High Court of Justice accepted our position as respondent in a lawsuit filed by the Eitanit Company to exempt itself from contributing fiscally to the Green Road asbestos clean-up program.

 

The court made a precedent-setting decision invoking the 'polluter pays' principle and confirmed that as manufacturer and distributor of asbestos Eitanit has responsibility for ultimate disposal of its product. In its decision, the court commented that Eitanit should have predicted the health risks associated with asbestos at the time it sold off the asbestos waste to communities throughout the Western Galilee.

In 2010, the Ministry of Environmental Protection responded to our earlier lawsuit and pressure by drafting a new regulatory framework. As public interest representatives, Adam Teva V'Din made specific scientific and legal contributions to the formulation of the bill.  

 

The landmark Prevention of Asbestos Hazards Law (2011), provides the fiscal and operational tools necessary to reduce public exposure to asbestos through improved oversight and eventual total phase-out. Most importantly, the law provides for a multi-year clean-up program ('Green Road') to rid Western Galilee communities of asbestos waste used in roads, footpaths, parking lots, etc. The program is administered by the Environmental Protection Ministry which estimates that up to 150,000 cubic meters (over 1.25 million barrels equivalent) of soil is in the Western Galilee are contaminated by asbestos waste. 

In 2008, despairing of official inaction and shirking of responsibility, we sued the Ministry of Environmental Protection and the City of Nahariya in order to leverage a solution to a dispute about a planned clean-up of asbestos waste in the Nahariya area. Together with our community partners, the Association for Quality of Life & Environment in Nahariya, we pointed out that delays in implementing a clean-up program unfairly impacted on the health and well-being of local residents.

In 2001, we filed a lawsuit against the Eitanit Company, the sole manufacturer in Israel of asbestos products, in relation to its private asbestos waste landfill facility adjacent to the Arab village of Sheikh Danun in the Western Galilee.

 

We were able to prove that Eitanit had violated the conditions of the site's operating permit by failing to fence in the landfill and to maintain it in a manner that prevented the release of asbestos fibers.  The court ordered Eitanit to implement a series of safety measures as outlined in our petition and conferred on the Ministry for Environmental Protection additional oversight responsibilities.

In 1999, one of our first advocacy projects helped block plans for construction of a children's playground on a lot adjacent to the recently-closed asbestos production plant owned by Eitanit. Evaluation of the site revealed vast quantities of asbestos waste, above and below ground. As a result of the shocking findings, the government launched an assessment program to ascertain the extent of contamination throughout the Western Galilee.

 

What we're doing now

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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