World Bank to provide $13 million for Gaza environmental projects
Published Tuesday 15/04/2014 (updated) 16/04/2014 21:50
A pool of untreated sewage water seen in the northern Gaza Strip
town of Beit Lahiya on Sept. 3, 2009 (MaanImages/file)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The World Bank will provide $13 million in grant money for environmental projects in the Gaza Strip, a statement said Monday.
According a World Bank statement, the money will go toward providing "long-term solutions to the treatment of sewage and solid waste" in the Strip.
The UN financial institution will grant $10 million to the Gaza Solid Waste Management Project, which "aims to improve the solid waste disposal in the Gaza governorates through the provision of an efficient, socially acceptable and environmentally friendly mechanism."
Meanwhile, $3 million will go to the North Gaza Wastewater Treatment Project, which aims to construct "a modern wastewater treatment plant and the development of a reuse program to irrigate surrounding fields with safely treated effluent."
"Several residential areas have been recurrently flooded with raw sewage causing property damage, injuries and deaths," Steen Jorgensen, World Bank country director for West Bank and Gaza, said in the statement.
"Illegal dumping and burning of waste are common practices across rural and urban areas causing soil, air and water pollution as well as health hazard," Jorgensen said.
"Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are entitled to live in a healthy and clean environment. Proper management of municipal waste is a priority that the World Bank is supporting to avoid negative health and environmental impacts on the well-being of Gaza citizens," he added.
On wastewater treatment, Richard Pollard, World Bank senior water and sanitation specialist, said that "the collapse of sewage ponds at the overloaded Beit Lahiya wastewater treatment plant in northern Gaza in 2007 raised critical questions about the long-term viability of water management systems in the Gaza Strip."
"The groundwater is alarmingly contaminated by leaked sewage. While the project was developed as a response to an emergency acute public health and environmental crisis, the new grant aims to ensure the long term sustainability of the facility," Pollard added.
The Gaza Strip has been under an economic blockade imposed by Israel since 2006.
The blockade has severely limited the imports and exports of the Gaza Strip and has led to frequent humanitarian crises and hardship for Gazans.