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Wednesday, 04 September 2013 17:03

Doron Sapir's latest outlook on the1st International Conference in Technological Innovations in Waste Management,Tel Aviv 6-9 September 2013

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Doron Sapir is the First Deputy Mayor at Tel Aviv Municipality since 1998. He has been a Member of the ISWA's Board and is Israel's National Representative in the association since 2007. With studies in Journalism, Management and Law School, he also serves as a Chairman in Dan Regional Association of Towns, and in Hiriya's Recycling Park. Furthermore, he's leading City’s Building and Planning Committee and the Preservation Committee for Tel Aviv’s White City.

Recycling and waste management has turned in a major issue globally, which along with resources conservation has upgraded its position in governments’ agendas globally. In just few days the Dan Region Association of Towns is hosting in Tel Aviv the 1st International Conference of “Technological Innovations in Waste Management”, gathering important waste officials from many countries, amongst them representatives of the International Solid Waste Association. Which are your expectations from such an event?

In recent years, Israel has embraced various waste recycling processes, processes which began to emerge in the Western world about 20 - 30 years ago. The Dan Region Association of Towns handles approximately 25% of the domestic waste of the State of Israel, and operates the largest transfer station in Israel, which receives 3000 tons of household and industrial waste each day and a further 1000 tons of cd waste. The Dan Region Association of Towns has taken it upon itself to spearhead the recycling revolution in the State of Israel, including by setting up waste recycling facilities and providing environmental education for the younger generation. At the first international conference on waste recycling management, to be held this month at the Hiriya site, we expect to present trends, processes and technologies from around the world for handling and promoting waste recycling. In addition, we intend to emphasize the importance of the correct handling of the waste as part of the environmental responsibility incumbent upon us as citizens. During the conference, and as part of the revolution which we are spearheading, we will officially open the revamped Center for Environmental Education, which is visited each year by over 100,000 students - children, youth and adults alike, and we will also lay the cornerstone for the RDF plant which is the largest waste recycling plant in Israel and one of the largest in the world.

One of your recent activities is the Hiriya Mountain Park, a vision that become reality some years ago, and is a successful case study for recycling and waste management practices. Could you give us a closer insight on the project?

The restoration of the Hiriya Mountain and the construction of the park is an example of how waste can be transformed from a nuisance, into a resource. For many years, the Hiriya waste mountain was a symbol of abandonment, dirt and environmental pollution. It was a safety and environmental hazard. When it was closed down as a landfill site, in 1999, we made the decision to transform specifically this site, which had been considered a symbol of environmental harm, into a site that would constitute an environmental asset for the general public, in the form of a unique park, to be established on the mountain, and the surrounding area would be open to the public and would remind everyone that it is possible to transform environmental nuisances into environmental assets, which contribute to the citizens' quality of life. On the mountain, which ascends to a height of 80 meters (and which is, by the way, the highest mountain in the whole region), we set up, as the first stage, a gas collection system with 80 gas wells, and we sell the gas to a textile plant in the region. Later on, we embarked upon the design of the park, the stabilization of the slopes, the arrangement of the drainage, and approval of the entire area as the largest park in the Central Israel region. The metropolitan park, which is named after Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who devoted great efforts to promoting the park, will eventually be larger than Central Park in New York!

Through your position as a First Deputy Mayor of Tel Aviv, you are experiencing citizens’ needs, and you are aware of their true attitudes. How does the public react to the recent recycling efforts and which are the most important problems you are dealing with?

To our great surprise, we have enjoyed exceptional cooperation from the public. As a rule, the citizens consider waste recycling and separation at source to be the one of the most important contributions they can make to environmental quality. The main problem actually concerns the end-station facilities, which are designed to take in the waste which has been separated by the citizens. There is a large delay and backlog in the construction of the facilities for screening and handling the waste. The delay arises from planning problems pertaining to the regulation and the financing, and thus a situation has arisen where citizens unfortunately see their efforts going down the drain. The RDF plant which we began to build effectively constitutes the first and most important step in the process of constructing the treatment facilities.

Throughout the years you surely have faced circumstances that impeded some of your dreams. What is your motivation for not losing your passion to offer to the society, to help the environment and keep trying to improve the life of the citizens of Tel Aviv?

As you are well aware, I have been actively involved in Tel Aviv for over 20 years, and during the last 15 years, I have in fact been the right-hand man of the city's Mayor, Ron Huldai. Together with him, we are leading the city, and transforming it not only into the leading city in Israel in all areas of life, including as Israel's business hub and its cultural and social center, but also as one of the most attractive cities in the world. At the same time, as the Chairman of the Hiriya Recycling Park, which is the largest waste treatment site in Israel, I have already been leading the recycling revolution in Israel for over a decade. The vision of turning the city into a beautiful, attractive and better city, together with the dream of achieving the recycling revolution, form an integral part of my life. This dream, together with the citizens and other people also actively involved and committed, form the driving force to deal with all the other problems that arise along the way.

After your accomplishments so far, which is your future vision regarding waste management?

My dream, in relation to the waste management industry, is to complete the recycling revolution in the Hiriya Recycling Park, and to reach zero landfilling. The revolution includes the completion of the RDF plant, which will handle 1500 tons per day, doubling the capacity of the facility for the mechanical/biological treatment (MBT) "arrow technology" to reach 600 tons per day, and the construction of a third MRF plant for 1600 tons per day. An additional dream which I want to achieve is to educate the younger generation to protect our quality of life and the environment. We are trying to convey this message through the revamped Center for Environmental Education at the Recycling Park. The educational revolution and the recycling revolution are sufficient dreams for the coming decade.

Read 7074 times Last modified on Thursday, 19 September 2013 17:40

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