Israel Raids Polluting Palestinian Charcoal Plants

The Associated Press
The Associated Press

The Times of Israel reports: For the first time, the Civil Administration on Thursday morning enforced environmental regulations against Palestinian charcoal plants that cause clouds of polluting smoke to waft over Jewish and Palestinian communities in the northern West Bank.

The plants receive pruned branches, mainly from Israeli farmers who have uprooted citrus and avocado orchards, and create charcoal by the slow burning — over 15 days to a month — of piles of wood surrounded by wet straw and soil.

The process causes massive amounts of smoke, pollution and strong smells and, according to media reports quoted by the Civil Administration — Israel’s governing arm in the West Bank — is linked to respiratory problems suffered by 25 percent of the children in the Palestinian town of Ya’bad, west of Jenin, and respiratory illnesses including cancer suffered by 70% of charcoal workers.

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