The Egged bus company will have to pay NIS 1.2 million ($345,000) in lost wages and other reimbursement to a group of seven students and retirees who sued over high pollution levels in Jerusalem’s Central Bus Station.
The plaintiffs are also expected to sue for NIS 120 million ($34.5 million) in damages.
Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court Judge Avraham Tannenbaum ruled that the air in the station was especially polluted. In its defense, Egged argued that the basic structure of the building, which saw passengers picked up and dropped off on an indoor platform, made it impossible to meet air pollution standards.
In recent months, Egged has taken steps to lower air pollution at the CBS, installing detectors and keeping passengers from waiting near the bus platforms.
Tannenbaum ordered Egged to take additional measures, including installing dividing walls between bus platforms and new air conditioning systems, the Yedioth Ahronoth daily reported.
The ruling comes as Israel’s Environmental Protection Ministry released a report that found that the level of nitrogen oxide coming from Israel’s power plants in 2012 is higher than that of all European states except Cyprus and Malta, according to Yedioth. The levels of sulfur dioxide are higher than all but seven European states.
The Israel Electric Corporation, which owns and operates the plants, said that the 2012 levels were an aberration because of difficulties obtaining natural gas. The Environmental Protection Ministry ordered that new air filtration systems be installed in the country’s coal power plants.