Investigations are underway for the cause of oil spill, while volunteers band together to clean up
The Mediterranean beaches were forced to close when up to 170km of the 190km shore was tainted by sticky tar mid-month. Images posted on official government accounts showed sea birds and turtles covered in tar and sticky oil. Israel’s Nature and Park Authority said, “The enormous amounts of tar emitted in recent days to the shores of Israel from south to north caused one of the most severe ecological disasters to hit Israel.” The country’s Ministry of Interior issued an advisory urging people to avoid the beaches.
Oil spill aftermath
Israel’s Nature and Park Authority noted it would take a long time to restore the safety of the marine area, a registration cum information centre has also been established for interested volunteers. It warned that the spill has yet to be contained as tar continues to wash up on the country’s beaches.
“According to field assessments, it is evident that these complex and strenuous operations will be required to continue over a long period of time,” the Nature and Parks Authority added.
The oil is believed to be from an offshore ship while investigations are ongoing. Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and Minister of Environmental Protection Gila Gamliel toured a part of the polluted coastline to assess the damage. Netanyahu said in a statement, “I was very impressed by the exemplary voluntarism of the citizens who came to clean up the beaches. We must maintain our beaches, our country and the environment. I have just spoken with the Egyptian Petroleum and Mineral Resources Minister who has come to us, and we proposed that every ship seen here be powered by natural gas instead of polluting fuel, as happened here.”
Gamliel affirmed in a statement that it was their “moral obligation to the public to locate those responsible for the event. She added the country has the possibility of suing the insurance company of the ship that is responsible for the pollution and Israel will do everything to locate it.