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The Environment in Israel:
Hazardous Substances

By Shoshana Gabbay





Historic Overview


Landscape Conservation

Water Quality

Air Quality

Marine & Coastal Environment

Solid Waste

Hazardous Substances

Environmental Research

Toward a
Sustainable Future




Safe management of hazardous substances is one of Israel's most pressing environmental concerns. A comprehensive system for the supervision and management of hazardous substances, which requires a permit for any premise dealing with toxic chemicals, has been set up. It is complemented by an efficient system of emergency response in cases of hazardous substances accidents and by an inspection system, encompassing thousands of industrial plants. In addition, an Information and Response Center for Hazardous Substances has been set up to collect quantitative and qualitative information on hazardous substances and to serve as a focal point of response during hazardous substances incidents — providing essential information, support and coordination.


Since 1990, when regulations on the disposal of hazardous waste to the national hazardous waste treatment facility at Ramat Hovav were first promulgated, the quantity of hazardous waste disposed to Ramat Hovav has risen significantly, from less than 24,000 tons in 1990 to nearly 81,000 tons in 2001. The number of plants that send their waste to Ramat Hovav has grown by 400% over the course of one decade alone.


Alongside improvements in Ramat Hovav, the Ministry of the Environment is intensifying its efforts to promote reduction at source, environment friendly substitutes for hazardous substances, and recycling and recovery in order to reduce hazardous waste quantities. The aim is to reduce the quantity of waste transferred to Ramat Hovav to a minimum — to make this the last rather than the first option for the country's hazardous waste. Approval for alternative treatment outside of Ramat Hovav is conditional on the use of the best available technologies, compliance with existing standards and regulations and other stringent conditions. Permits are granted only after careful examination of the application and, at times, after implementation of pilot demonstrations.