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Zöld Izrael » Környezet, Környezetvédelem » Tourism and Environmental Protection Ministers Recommend Dead Sea Salt Harvest

Tourism and Environmental Protection Ministers Recommend Dead Sea Salt Harvest

Israel Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan and Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov will present a plan for saving the southern basin of the Dead Sea for government approval. The plan calls for saving the Dead Sea hotels from flooding by means of salt harvesting.

Environmental Protection Minister Erdan: “Global policy requires integration between economic interests and development and environmental issues. We cannot merely focus on development but must leave natural resources and the ability to enjoy them to future generation just as they were left for us. We must find ways to assure that regional development coexists with environmental protection.”

The proposed solution to the problem of rising sea levels in the southern basin of the Dead Sea calls for full harvesting (dredging) of the salt which has accumulated on the floor of the industrial pond which is situated adjacent to the hotel. The deposit of salt has raised the water level by about 20 cm a year, posing a hazard to the coastal infrastructure and the tourism area.

Among a number of alternatives for solving the problem, the preferred solution from an environmental viewpoint is full dredging of the salt which has accumulated at the bottom of the basin using electric barges, loading the salt on a conveyor belt, and transporting it to the northern basin for deposition.

Furthermore, the Environmental Protection and Tourism Ministers have proposed that financing of the project should be imposed on the Dead Sea Works, a major producer and supplier of potash and other products, whose industrial activity is responsible for the problem.

The salt harvesting project constitutes one component of the general policy of the two ministers on the future of the Dead Sea. In order to promote tourism in the area, the ministers will also recommend the establishment of a dedicated fund for regional development. According to the plan, the state will allocate some 750 million shekels over a five year period to encourage tourism in the region.

Planning for the Dead Sea area is expected to undergo major changes, some of which will focus on limiting additional industrial development in factories in the area and others on development and investment in tourism infrastructures.

Minister Erdan also noted that the Ministry of Environmental Protection opposes the approval of a Dead Sea Works plan to establish another industrial pool to the north of the hotel region, until the completion of the new national master plan for the Dead Sea area.

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