"Oil spill" in Israel: volunteers mobilize to clean up the coast

Audio 01:30

Young volunteers clean up Acadia Beach in Herzliya, north of Tel Aviv.

© Sami Boukhelifa / RFI

Text by: RFI Follow

4 min

Clean-up operations continue in Israel after the wave of pollution that hit the eastern Mediterranean.

The Israeli authorities speak of an "oil slick", the most serious in decades.

Dozens, even hundreds of tons of tar were reportedly dumped in the open sea. An investigation is underway, but in the meantime an army of volunteers has mobilized to clean up the Israeli coast.

Report in a seaside resort north of Tel Aviv.


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With our special correspondent in Hezliya,

Sami Boukhelifa

Ron, a 25-year-old volunteer, combs the sand with a shovel and a sieve.


It's a disaster,

” he said. 

Look, we're picking up these little black dumplings in the sand.


Dozens of black fragments appear with each shovelful.

Further down the beach, Josh and his volunteer friends, dressed in white overalls, work to music to cheer themselves up.


 We are polluting our planet and most of us don't even realize it,"

 Josh says.

It is as if we live in the middle of our trash cans, we suffocate and everything around us dies.


Adi even took a day off to participate in the clean-up operations.


It sucks,

” he blurted out. 

I would have liked the government to get more involved in cleaning up the coast.

He could still do it, actually, but I don't think he will


In Herzliya, the municipality took matters into its own hands.

From the Gaza Strip to Tire in Lebanon, everyone is affected,"

explains Shmulik Lin, responsible for managing the city's beaches. 

Last month we had an exercise to deal with an oil spill, and here we are.

And yet, Herzliya is relatively spared.

It is the pebble beaches that suffer the most.

The tar sticks to the rocks and it's really hard to clean up. 

Almost half of Israel's coastline is contaminated by this pollution.

Swimming is strictly prohibited until further notice. 

To read also: The beaches of Israel affected by an oil spill with irreversible damage


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  • Israel

  • Pollution

  • Environment

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