White foam covers sections of Yarkon River despite cleanup efforts

White foam covers sections of Yarkon River despite cleanup efforts

As residents complain, authorities say phenomenon caused by first winter rains flushing dust, oils into waterway

Sue Surkes is The Times of Israel's environment reporter.

White foam on Tel Aviv's Yarkon River, October 10, 2017 (Walla! screenshot)
White foam on Tel Aviv's Yarkon River, October 10, 2017 (Walla! screenshot)

The appearance of white foam on sections of the Yarkon River in Tel Aviv on Tuesday reignited complaints that sewage continues to flow into the country’s longest natural waterway, despite ongoing efforts to clean it up.

Motti Elmaliach, chairman of the Neighbors of the Yarkon group, said that white foam had covered the river in the Tel Aviv area.

“Despite the fact that the state has invested NIS 100,000 [$28,500] to rehabilitate the Yarkon, pollution of the river happens again and again every few weeks, and the Yarkon has gone back to being a canal of sewage,” he complained.

“It’s time the state found a real solution to pollution of the river.”

Around six months ago, thousands of fish were found floating dead in the river after sewage was flushed into it.

The Yarkon River Authority said the foam was caused by the country’s first rains earlier in the week, which washed accumulated dust, oils, fuels and other dirty substances into the river.

Rains also brought filth streaming into the Kishon River in northern Israel on Tuesday afternoon, the Ynet news site reported, with the Kishon Water Authority reporting the presence of used oil in a tributary in Haifa.

“Authority staff are dealing with the pollution,” a statement said.

The statement explained that strong rains had apparently flushed pollutants from drainage systems in the area into the stream. Special equipment was brought in to pump the oil out.

Jews pray on the banks of the Yarkon River in Tel Aviv on September 28, 2017, for the ritual of Tashlich, during which the observant symbolically cast their sins into the water (Yaakov Naumi/Flash90)
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