By George Kurzom
Exclusive to Environment and Development Horizons:
Haifa residents afflicted by the pollution emitted by the “Haifa Petrochemicalim” plants and the threat it poses to security.
Hezbolah Leader Hasan Nasrallah said in his speech on February 16, 2016 that Israelis feared an attack on its Petrochemical plant in the Haifa bay. Storage tanks filled with ammonia are in the Haifa plant facilities. Ethylene and hydrogen stores are also located in the facilities. Nasrallah pointed out that the Israeli infrastructure is located in a narrow corridor along Palestine’s coast. Referring to the the July 2006 war he said “We kept our distance from the 15,000 tons of ammonia gas that would have caused the death of tens of thousands.“
Nasrallah quoted Israeli experts on their criticism of the Israeli government for putting 800,000 people in danger with the presence of the ammonia tanks and the same danger as a nuclear bomb
The latest studies from Haifa University have shown that the ammonia gas stores are having a detrimental effect on people. Birth defects are above the national average Haifa. The University of Haifa conducted a study on the effects of pollution. The study showed that newborns are being born with a head size 20-30% below the average size.
Members of Knesset believe that the population of Haifa faces a double threat. MK’s are asking if they should wait for the Prime minister to wake up and see the eminent danger that is in the Haifa’s gulf? While others are questioning if Haifa has been under threat in the past why are the stores still there posing the biggest threat to the country?
Israeli environmental activists have warned of the deadly threat the 17,000-ton ammonia stores pose to security, the environment and to the population. They have repeatedly rallied for the facilities closure and the removal of the ammonia gas.
In 2012 the Israeli government decided to move the facilities to the south of Palestine in the Negev desert. The cost will be covered by the Israeli Ministry of Environment and they will be built in an uninhabited area. Israelis living near the plants in Haifa have been fleeing due to their proximity to scary strategic targets.
In October 2012, Environment and Development Horizons was alone with its report about the ammonia stores and the threat they pose to the country and population. Horizons reported about the scare tactics the Israeli government and media were using on the residents in Haifa. Residents were being told of the Iranian scare but not of the severe danger the petrochemical plant and its stores posed on their lives.
Ammonia gas is a colorless, powerful gas. . What are the potential health effects of ammonia? If it is inhaled it instantly shut destroy the respiratory system. Prolonged exposure is corrosive to the skin, eyes and respiratory system. Ammonia is stored in a liquid state. If the ammonia is released into the atmosphere it will turn into a gas and can cover an area with a radius of 20 Kilometers. It is used for manufacturing fertilizers, medicine and foodstuff.
There is a blatant disregard by the “Haifa Petrochemicalim ” plant and the Israeli government for the welfare of the population and the safety of the country. There are 17,000 tons of ammonia gas along with other highly toxic chemicals stored in the Haifa bay. This area has a population of 800,000. The effects of their presence on the Haifa population are health problems and birth defects.
Translated by: Kefah Abukhdeir