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The Environment in Israel:
Marine and Coastal Environment

By Shoshana Gabbay





Historic Overview


Landscape Conservation

Water Quality

Air Quality

Marine & Coastal Environment

Solid Waste

Hazardous Substances

Environmental Research

Toward a
Sustainable Future





Photo: B.Gian

Israel's Mediterranean and Red Sea coastlines are among the country's most valuable natural assets. Protecting them from pollution and from the conflicting demands of urbanization, industrialization, agriculture, recreation and tourism, is a national priority.


The legal framework for marine pollution prevention is well established and implemented in Israel. Highly skilled professional inspectors carry out marine pollution prevention and enforcement on the Mediterranean coast, the Gulf of Eilat/Akaba, the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea. In addition to serving a deterrent function, these inspectors investigate violations of the law by vessels or coastal facilities and file legal charges, where warranted. Increased awareness, coupled by strict enforcement, has led to a notable decrease in the number of oil spills over the past decade. The administrative enforcement system, which includes data on permits for dumping and discharge of land-based sources, has been highly successful.


In order to expand surveillance, monitoring and enforcement of land-based sources of marine pollution, a national center for on-line surveillance of effluent outfalls to the sea is being established. The project will see the installation of sensors on pipelines which discharge effluents into the sea. The anticipated result: a computerized environmental surveillance system with comprehensive data on the entire coastline, able to provide real-time oversight of each individual plant which discharges waste into the sea within the framework of a permit.


To prevent and combat marine pollution in the Gulf of Eilat, the world's northernmost tropical sea ecosystem, a pollution control and response station was established north of the coral reserve. Today, with the aid of the modern equipment at its disposal, the station stands at the forefront of the struggle to prevent the pollution of the Gulf of Eilat/Akaba.


Growing pressures for residential and commercial development on the densely populated Mediterranean coastline have minimized visual and physical access to the shore. In recognition of the problem, both governmental and non-governmental organizations have launched new initiatives to bring about integrated management of coastal and marine areas. Recognition of such problems as urban sprawl along the coastal stretch, sand depletion, offshore structures, erosion and instability of the coastal cliff have emerged as critical issues which are currently being addressed as part of an integrated coastal management policy.