February 16, 2010 – Israeli Dead Sea Works calls for an additional evaporation pond

Israeli Dead Sea Works calls for an additional evaporation pond – corporate cynicism at its worst?

February 16, 2010

At a time when millions of dollars are being invested in national and regional plans to ‘Save the Dead Sea’, the Israeli Dead Sea Works, who extract Dead Sea minerals, has recently submitted a request to expand their activities and establish a new evaporation pond – “Pool number 6” that would further impact the Dead Sea, reducing water levels by an additional 2cm.

The Dead Sea, an internationally important site, has been receding by more than a meter a year. The shrinking of the Dead Sea over the last 50 years is due to the diversion of the waters of the Jordan River and its tributaries mostly for agriculture by Israel, Syria and Jordan, as well as by accelerated evaporation of its waters by the Israeli and Jordanian mineral extraction industries. The Geological Survey of Israel estimates that the combined impact of the industrial activity on both sides of the Dead Sea is responsible for 40-48 cm of the waters’ decline annually.

Israel’s National Master Plan of the area, “Tama 13”, that is being prepared these days, asserts that the decline of the water level is creating sinkholes, undermining streams, drying out local springs and threatening physical infrastructure. Despite the damage done and the role of industry in the Dead Sea’s demise, the Dead Sea Works recently requested to further enlarge their industrial area and add 15m2 to the pools area. The construction of “Pool 6” will expand their production by 10%.

Michal Sagive from EcoPeace Middle East says “The request of the industry for an additional pool, already approved at the local planning level, must now be rejected at the national level. This is corporate cynicism at its worst. Rather than taking steps to reduce their impact on the Dead Sea, industry is claiming that an additional 2cm decline is insignificant.”

EcoPeace Middle East rejects the corporate cynicism of the Dead Sea Works request, that the plan be rejected at the national planning level and that an urgent discussion on the issue be held in the relevant Israeli Parliamentary Committees.

For more information, contact Michal Sagive, 03-5605383 ext. 6, or 052-5858557 michal@ecopeaceme.org