A massive oil spill has happened yesterday in Israel’s Arava region, just near Jordan border.
Oil pipeline that links Eilat, Israel’s main resort located at the northern tip of the Red Sea, to the port city of Ashkelon, has been accidentally ruptured by negligent maintenance workers.
As a result, millions of liters of crude oil (more than 1,000,000 US gallons) gushed out of the damaged pipeline, thus allowing to speak of the worst ecological disaster that happened in the history of Israel. According to Guy Samath, the spokesperson for Israel’s Environment Ministry, “crude oil flowed throughout the reserve, causing serious damage … to flora and fauna” (read here).
The spill has contaminated much of Evrona nature reserve. Evrona, located some 20 miles north of Eilat, is known for a variety of rare species of plants and animals, as well as rare archaeological remains.
Samath stated that the “full clean-up and rehabilitation will take a few years” (read here).
Read more here:
Update as of December 25, 2015:
Environment Ministry to submit NIS 17 million plan for Arava oil spill rehabilitation
As part of plan, special team would be established to check environmental impact of Eilat-Ashkelon Pipeline Company activities both on dry land and on beaches.
Update as of April, 2015:
Four Months After Oil Spill, Evrona Nature Reserve To Be Reopened
According to Israel’s Ministry of Environmental Protection’s official website, “Air samples taken by the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MoEP) have shown that the air in the Evrona Nature Reserve is no longer polluted” (link below).
However, in the very same statement MoEP acknowledges that “the latest air quality tests were conducted in mid-March, three and a half months after a massive oil spill in Israel’s southern Arava region, which resulted in air pollution, soil contamination, and major damage to flora and fauna in the area“.
Furthermore, the statements quotes deputy Minister Akunis: “Quick and professional treatment of the reserve, immediately following the oil spill… has brought positive results such that the reserve is clean and safe. The public is invited to visit and enjoy. At the same time, monitoring and rehabilitation activities will continue at the reserve.”
It seems, however, that the primary task was to open the area to the mass public, and hence the air safety (there were as many as 80 people in hospitalized as a direct result of the oil fumes in the area) was the most important issue; however, soil quality tests had to be conducted as well. What is the estimate of the damage to ecosystem in the area? There are no reports on this.
Sviva.gov.il, the Ministry of Environmental Protection’s official website, the main environmental monitoring media body in Israel, published 19-page leaflet entitled OIL SPILL IN THE ARAVA: A MAJOR ENVIRONMENTAL DISASTER (it can be read online here [PDF format] http://www.sviva.gov.il/English/ResourcesandServices/NewsAndEvents/NewsAndMessageDover/Documents/Env%20Bulletin%20-%20Oil%20Spill%20in%20the%20Arava%20-%20Jan.%202015.pdf). However, it mostly highlights timely cleanup work under brilliant leadership of the Ministry.
Someone might ask, was anyone ever punished for the spill? There is absolutely no information found on this topic. However, it somehow feels right to assume that no-one was.
#evrona nature reserve #israeli oil spill #natural disasters