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The Environment in Israel:
Air Quality

By Shoshana Gabbay





Historic Overview


Landscape Conservation

Water Quality

Air Quality

Marine and Coastal Environment

Solid Waste

Hazardous Substances

Environmental Research

Toward a
Sustainable Future





Air monitoring station
Courtesy: Ministry of the

In Israel, as elsewhere in the world, rapid technological development, improvement in standards of living and increased population density have brought in their wake pollutant emissions from both stationary and mobile sources. The rapid emergence of industrial plants in the vicinity of urban centers, coupled with a dramatic increase in the number of cars, has exacerbated air pollution problems throughout the country. National estimates of air pollutant emissions have shown that with the exception of sulfur oxides and lead, emissions of all pollutants have increased substantially.


The sharp rise in carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and hydrocarbon emissions is attributed to the dramatic increase in the number of motor vehicles traveling on Israel's roads, nearly a fourfold increase over the past two decades. To address the problems, several steps have already been taken while others are planned. Thus, for example, catalytic converters have been standard features in all private vehicles beginning with 1993 models, fuel quality has been improved, sulfur content of diesel for public transport has been substantially reduced, steps have been taken to switch at least part of the public transportation system to alternative fuels, particularly liquefied petroleum gas, and roadside inspection and enforcement of emission standards have been increased.


Since the availability of nationwide data on air quality is a prerequisite for the formulation of a comprehensive national air quality management program, Israel has expanded its national air monitoring system; it includes individual stations and a national control center that provides real-time information about air quality throughout the country. This information is facilitating enforcement of air quality standards and informing the general public about air quality levels.


Israel is committed to fulfilling its obligations for reducing greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. An interministerial committee on climate change, including representatives of relevant government ministries, industries and non-governmental organizations, was established by government decision at the time of ratification of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The committee is charged with formulating national policy on the reduction of greenhouse gases and preparing reports on national greenhouse gas inventories, policies, measures and forecasts. Although Israel was classified as a developing country under the Climate Change Convention, the government has resolved to undertake voluntary activities to restrict or reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.