The Eilat City Council banned yesterday the use of disposable plastic products on beaches. The ban includes plastic bags and the sale of all disposable products. The new municipal by-law sets a NIS 730 maximum fine for lawbreakers.
The decision puts Eilat in line with other countries around the world that have passed such laws. Eilat is the first city in Israel to do so.
The municipality, which is already conducting a public relations campaign, underseas cleaning, and instituting enforcement measures on Eilat's beaches in order to preserve the Gulf of Eilat, which has been called one of world's most beautiful bays, is now acting to reduce the use of plastic at the Red Sea. The new law defines disposable products as products made of any material, including plastic, aluminum, cardboard, paper, etc., not designed for repeat use through returns to the manufacturer, or not originally designed by the manufacturer for repeat use, including cutlery, plates, cups, drinking straws, bags, covers, stirrers, and packages.
Eilat Mayor Meir Yitzhak Halevi said, "Eilat has unique natural resources, one of which is the Gulf of Eilat, called one of the most beautiful bays in the world. These resources are attracting millions of tourists from Israel and all over the world, and are a fruitful field for marine biological and biotechnical and sustainable energy research and development. It is our duty to employ all means to preserve them."
The explanations accompanying the law state, "The city of Eilat on the Red Sea coast greatly depends on its natural resources, including the hills around it and the Gulf of Eilat, with its rich and unique coral reefs. These resources are inalienable assets for Israel, Eilat, and its residents, and a focus of global tourism.
"Many important actions have been taken to preserve these assets in recent years, but it has emerged that one of the most important threats to the nature values in the area, especially the sea, is disposable products, particularly disposable plastic goods. These are a serious hazard to health and the environment, and damage the city's façade and the value of its tourism product. Disposable goods are a nuisance and a hazard when thrown away in the sea and on the beaches, regardless of whether they are made out of plastic, aluminum, paper, cardboard, or any other material.
"The type of product is also irrelevant: cutlery, cups, plastic bags, straws, and so forth. Disposable products disintegrate on land and in the sea into particles of various sizes that harm marine and land wildlife, which misidentifies plastic and particles as food, or gets entangled in them and dies from strangulation or internal damage. Disposable items are also an eyesore on the beaches, the sea surface, and on land.
"Many countries around the world have already passed laws banning the use of disposable products. The leaders in this campaign are countries in the European Union, advanced countries in Africa and South America, and various districts in Canada and the US.
"In order to emphasize the importance of Eilat's natural treasures, it should be noted that Egyptian Sinai, Eilat's neighbor, recently passed a law banning the use, production, and possession of disposable plastic products along the Red Sea beaches. Israel has yet to respond to the problem with legislation, but the Ministry of Environmental Protection is encouraging the local authorities to reduce marine waste hazards by stepping up cleaning on the beaches, increasing enforcement, public relations and advertising, and promotion of local legislative changes."
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on December 12, 2019
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