This is a story lifted straight from Robert Lindsay's always excellent blog April 14th - The posh ladies of Portobello ***should worry ?
The Death Swamps
2 1/2 weeks ago, on March 27, some sewage ponds in Gaza overflowed, killing 5 people. The reporting in the Zionist-controlled US media did not shine much light on the situation. It seemed to be either an act of God or a tragedy that was no one's fault.
Here is what the Western media left out: First of all, the sewage ponds have overflowed twice previously, once in 1988 and once in 1993. The facility used to work properly as a sewage treatment plant, but it needs electricity to run.
When Israel bombed the power plant in Gaza after Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was captured last summer, the facility was unable to treat sewage. It has since been limping by on generators, but that doesn't really cut it.
The upshot is that untreated sewage has been flowing into the ponds, seeping down into the aquifer, contaminating the aquifer, and expanding the ponds to the breaking point as the water levels rose very high.
Since the area is in Israel's "security zone" (a part of Gaza along the border with Israel where Israel does not allow much of anything to go on), Israel is unable to guarantee the security of anyone working on the plant, so the work is unfunded.
The only solution is to pump raw sewage out to sea but that would pollute the ocean water that is used by Israel's Ashkelon desalinization plant (which is interestingly another source of concentrated heavy metals in the human diet). Already, three years ago, 50% of the children in the surrounding area had digestive problems from the contamination of the aquifer.
In 2003, donors again expressed interest in a renovation of the treatment plant but they canned that proposal when they were not sure if Israel would allow any technicians to come into the area. The same year, another group of donors wanted to rebuild the plant, but Israel threatened to bomb the area if anyone started working on the plant.
Now all funding period has stopped for everything, and there is barely even enough money to pay government workers, much less to rebuild a sewage plant. The Western media likes to play up the Western funding freeze to the Hamas government as a great thing.
Your average reader probably nods his head in approval as he reads this. But should a funding freeze cover sewage treatment plants? Is that right, proper or reasonable?
As you can see, Israel was much more responsible for this deadly incident than the media let on.
This story comes Via the excellent A Mother From Gaza blog. The photo comes from there and is by Darryl Li.
"According to Darryl Li, the sewage facility is a collection of seven manmade lagoons at the edge of the former settlement bloc. "When working properly, the facility cleans waste water and then redeposits it into the aquifer. It has long been described as a major environmental problem: it is overtaxed and untreated sewage has long been polluted the groundwater in the area, and the facility has flooded at least twice."
The facility stopped functioning entirely in the weeks after the power cutoff last year (when Israel bombed Gaza's power plant), and later functioned at very low efficiency levels with generators. Water level consuquently rose dangerously high.
The embankments of the cesspool have also been the target of frequent Israeli shelling, threatening their integrity, says Darryl Li."
"According to a UN OCHA report issued in 2004, 110 acres were already flooded by waste from the plant by that year, and the area was growing. 50% of the children in neighbouring villages had digestive problems related to the overlfowing sewage and contmination of drinking water in the area."
***Portobello is a the very genteel seaside 19 Century resort outside Edinburgh.