Illegal Quarry in Al Bireh Emits Dust and Noise between the Houses, and Official Authorities are Watching
By: Irene Kaileh
crusher's wastes between houses in Al-Biereh
Exclusive to Environment and Development Horizons:
Is there anything more beautiful than the view of sunset? Absolutely not… unfortunately, the residents of AlSalaymeh, west of Al-Bireh, are not eager for this charming view, not because they do not like it, but because their day ends with the view of white dust followed by the noise of the quarry located opposite to their residential apartments.
About ten buildings, each with at least 20 apartments, are mediated by the quarry, and surrounded by construction waste materials collected by the owner of the quarry near the main street that leads to neighborhoods of west Ramallah.
Dust and Noise
According to one of the residents, “the quarry is based on lands of which most of their owners are expatriates in the United States of America. The owner took over these lands and set up his quarry with its heavy equipment, trucks, bulldozers and construction waste that he brings from outside the area to grind and resell”.
He explains: "The worst thing about the quarry is that it starts working after midnight, which disturbs the residents who cannot sleep, in addition to the pollution that it causes. He adds” the owner often deliberately closes the main road leading to the area of Ein Musbah, he can open or close it whenever he wants”.
He added that the quarry was established more than five years ago, when the residential presence wasn’t large, but many residential buildings were later constructed. The residents of the area submitted several complaints to AlBireh municipality but until this day the residents have seen no change.
Another resident who also lives in the area for less than a month said: "the residents living in the area told me that the quarry works at night and causes discomfort, aside from the pollution it emits. However, I bought an apartment in one of the buildings opposite to the quarry, and now i suffer from the problem of noise and the piles of construction waste that is gathered behind the apartments.” He added "although it is a nice area to live in, the quarry is a clear violation of law that must be resolved without destroying the remnants of the regions’ benefits. Therefore, a number of residents agreed to solve this problem by addressing the authorities and filing complaints of which the last was two months ago.
A third resident who lives in a building of 16 apartments on the opposite side of the quarry explains “The most annoying thing about the quarry is the noise that starts at midnight; my children cannot sleep which makes it hard for them to wake up for school in the morning. There is also the issue of pollution that turns the clean laundry dirty”.
The law prohibits and sanctions do not deter!
The law guarantees the preservation of nature and its resources and prevents any damage or side effects that are likely to arise sooner or later as a result of various industrial, agricultural or urban activities that may affect the life style and the environmental system such as air, water, soil, plant, animal and marine resources.
Article 10 of Chapter two of the Environmental Protection Law states that all parties or individuals are obligated to take the necessary precautions to prevent any environmental pollution when undertaking construction, demolition, mining work or when transferring the resulting waste or dust. Anyone who breaks the law has to pay a fine of twenty Jordanian Dinars or the equivalent thereof in the legally circulated currency or imprisonment for a period not less than three days. One of the conditions to get a construction license for a facility (according article 16 of the same chapter) is the existence of appropriate environmental conditions for activities such as quarries and mines, in order to protect the environment from the risks of environmental pollution and to conserve the natural resources.
Article 26 states: when operating any machine, equipment, use of alarms, loudspeakers or other activities, all parties and individuals shall not exceed the permissible limits of sound and vibration. Anyone who breaks the law has to pay a fine of not less than 50 Jordanian Dinars and not more than one hundred dinars or the equivalent in the circulated currency, and an imprisonment for a period not less than a week and not more than a month or one of these penalties
Environment Quality Authority: The quarry is a violation and we know it!
Eng.Thabet Yousef, head of the Environment Quality Authority in Ramallah, said that they are aware of the quarry’s existence and that the Environment Quality Authority team visited the site after they received complaints from the residents of the area. He added that the quarry is illegal as it’s located between residential buildings and it starts working after midnight, both of which are in violation of law.
He explained that the quarry collects waste materials into piles, and re-grinds them on an area of at least 4 acres, in addition to the owner of the quarry claiming that he signed an agreement with the municipality of Al-Bireh to establish this quarry. He also said that they observe the quarry and the trucks entering and exiting, and it has been noticed that these trucks change their number plates.
Al-Bireh Municipality: the police notified the quarry!
Al-Bireh Municipality denied that this quarry is licensed by them, but rather it is a violation and cannot continue its work in this residential area, as confirmed by Ziad al-Tawil, the director of AlBireh municipality. Moreover, it’s located in a border area between the cities of Ramallah and Al-Bireh and the owner is taking over the lands of the citizens, in addition to the legal violation of the site on which it is located, and working after midnight.
After a number of complaints that reached the municipality by the nearby residents, AlTawil pointed out that a joint letter with the Ramallah Municipality had been submitted to the police stating that the quarry should be notified, stopped from working and removed, but "so far we have not received any developments on this issue”.
Translated by: Ghadeer Kamal Zaineh