President Reuven Rivlin calls for immediate national action following a major environmental disaster off of Israel’s coast.
Reuvlin says, “The images of pollution on our beaches are awful.”
“It’s terrible for our animals and plant life and for the sea that has been blackened by the tar,” Rivlin says. “Now is the time for an urgent national plan before we face an unprecedented ecological disaster.”
Reports of the pollution first emerged on Thursday when a 17-meter dead baby fin whale washed up on Israel’s coast, along with other wildlife.
Nature and Parks Authority chief Shaul Goldstein says the incident is Israel’s “worst environmental disaster in a decade.”
A number of people who volunteered to participate in a cleanup operation of the massive tar spill were hospitalized earlier in the day after inhaling apparently toxic fumes.
The cause of the spill — involving dozens of tons of tar spilled at sea — was not definitively clear and was under investigation.
From as north as Haifa and down south to Ashkelon near Gaza, black strips could be seen along the Mediterranean coastline. At Gador Nature Reserve near the northern city of Hadera, the tar smeared fish, turtles, and other sea creatures.