Nahariya, Israel – An asbestos pollution survey, conducted by the Environmental Union of Western Galilee Municipalities, discovered that dozens of public sites in the Nahariya area have been contaminated by asbestos.
Of the affected locations, 11 have been identified as requiring urgent containment and abatement. There is imminent risk that asbestos dust in those areas will become airborne and be dispersed by the wind, posing a serious health risk to the general public.
Eitanit, a producer of asbestos, was based in Nahariya for many years. The company sold or gave surplus supplies to residents. The material was used for building as well as repairing roads and parking lots. A sharp rise in mesothelioma cases was recorded as a result of asbestos exposure. Of those who developed the disease, a third of the victims reported that they came in contact with asbestos near their homes.
The Environmental Union conducted the study by drilling and taking soil samples in various areas. Of the 120 sites that were measured in the study, 72 of them tested positive for asbestos contamination.
The Environmental Protection Ministry, which funded the survey, gave an order to stop work on an infrastructure project in Nahariya this month over concerns of the possibility of asbestos becoming airborne.
The survey, however, is not a comprehensive assessment of the amount of asbestos that pose a threat to residents of Nahariya. There are still many public areas that were not included as well as all private property.
It has been reported that Eitanit and the state government are working together to finance a cleanup project to safely contain and transfer the hazardous material to an approved site.