By Hilmi S. Salem
a-View of exposed limestone in Bethlehem area, West Bank. b, c- Limestone quarries in the West Bank conv
The following text is a summary of a comprehensive and detailed applied research paper prepared by Professor Helmy Salem, on the effects of the stone and marble industry on the ecosystem, green cover and public health in the areas where this industry is spread, specifically in north and south of the West Bank.
Abstract: The Stone (limestone) and Marble (trade name) Industry (SMI) is one of the most important and active industries in Palestine, as being economically and financially rewarding and greatly beneficial to the public and private sectors. This industry, which employs about 15,000–20,000 workers, contributes 20–25% to the total industrial revenues of Palestine, and 4.5% to the total gross national product. Despite its benefits, SMI has adverse effects on public health, the environment, biodiversity, water systems (both surface and underground), green cover, and ecosystems in general, as it is considered one of the most air- water-, soil-, and noise-polluting sources. To achieve the purpose of this research paper, available data and literature are analyzed, evaluated, and used, in order to provide a comprehensive understanding of the status of SMI, in light of sustainable development. This relates to various perspectives, including limestone geology, geopolitics, socioeconomics, culture, technology, legislation, as well as climate change, acid rain, and harmful effects of the SMI scale on public health and safety, environmental well-being, and challenges facing the industry. Two field studies, carried out in northern and southern West Bank, dealing with particulate matter (PM1, PM2.5, PM7, PM10, and TSP) and environmental pollution, were analyzed, and their results were compared with each other, as well as with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) guidelines. It is found that both West Bank’s areas are heavily polluted, resulting in considerable adverse impacts on public health, the environment, and green cover. Based on the findings of this paper, it is recommended that SMI should properly adhere to WHO guidelines and international standards to make the industry safer and more durable and sustainable, with fewer negative impacts on public health, the environment, and green cover.
For more information, one can refer to the entire research paper and use it as a reference as provided below, while respecting copyright. Please cite the paper as follows:
Salem, Hilmi S. (2021). Evaluation of the stone and marble industry in Palestine: Environmental, geological, health, socio-economic, cultural, and legal perspectives, in view of sustainable development. Environmental Science and Pollution Research (Springer: Germany, International). DOI: 10.1007/s11356-021-12526-4.
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