By: Khalid Abu Fayyad
The issue of sewage water is one of the most serious problems that threatens the environment and health of the Gaza people since long ago. It is a primary contamination source of Gaza Sea’s beach, the only resort for Gazan people after the Israeli strangulating siege on Gaza Strip. Apart from being contamination source for aquifer, the only water resource for drinking causing many chronic diseases that Gazan people suffering from, such as kidney, liver and other diseases.
Sewage water problem dated back to the fall of Gaza strip under the Israeli occupation in 1967. The Israeli occupation constructed three sewage water plants for Gazan people, who did not exceed more than 380,000 people at that time; whereas Gaza population nowadays over 1.5 million and live in very small area (360 km).Those three plants function as a treatment lagoon and with gradually increasing of Gaza population; these plants have become unable processing the whole sewage they receive.
Nowadays, Gazan people get rid of sewage water either by using sewage net connected with the three treatment plants, or through draining the sewage water away by using open canals ending up in beach of Gaza or using absorbing wells and when the wells are full, people discharge the sewage water in some remote areas of Gaza strip.
The issue of sewage waste badly exacerbated. It has got worse after imposing the deadly siege on Gaza Strip by the Israeli occupiers and the international community. The imposed siege is as kind of painful collective punishment on Gazan people, for electing Islamic Hamas Movement, which has won in January 2006, as international observers reported, in the fairest and the freest general election in the Middle East.
Therefore, the blockade affected negatively the working of sewage treatment plants, since the Israeli occupation imposed severe restrictions on equipments, fuel and imported food supplies. Subsequently, lack of necessary equipments and spare parts led to freezing the plants work. Further, the treatment plants cease working from time to time as result of fuel shortage and electricity cuts causing sewage to overflow into the Gaza beach.
The overflow of untreated sewage water from the treatment plants polluted Gaza sea shores, which is the only outlet and resort for Gazan people. Palestinian Environmental Quality Authority reported that there are 11 areas of Gaza beaches as polluted and unfit areas for swimming. Furthermore, Gaza Coastal Municipality Water Utility estimated that 30,000 cubic meters of partially treated sewage seeps and pollutes the ground water, which is the primary source for drinking water for one and a half million population.
The pollution of sea shores and ground water is definitely poisonous and causes deadly diseases. Besides, the pollution of beaches leads to the death of marine turtles which is considered a good environment for the increment of jelly fish. In the mean time, the mosses grow up remarkably and consume oxygen the fish needs to breathe.
Conclusion, the forgotten dangers that threaten Gaza Sea and aquifer necessitate urgent action by officials for rescuing Gaza from imminent environmental catastrophe. The question which is still raised when the officials and public will pay the attention to these dangers surrounding them while they are still engaged with consequences of the last criminal war on Gaza. These environment dangers could make mankind massacres more than the Israeli war machine did.