Green is the name of the game today and here in Israel from my perspective there is definitely an ever increasing awareness of the need to change our lifestyles in one way or another.
The use of plastic bags when shopping is a no-no particularly in the supermarkets and we now bring a number of fabric bags on our shopping expeditions in order to avoid the use of the plastic bag. Why the manufacturers of such bags cannot produce in biodegradable plastics beats me but then I suppose, as always, it is down to a question of cost. I remember using biodegradable plastics for packaging a product I was involved in the manufacture of way back in the 1970’s – it seems it has not developed much since then.
The government is being drawn into “Green” issues constantly and a comprehensive report released in March http://www.sviva.gov.il/Enviroment/Static/Binaries/ModulKvatzim/p0462_1.pdf highlights the following important changes:-
a) All light vehicles (up to 3.5 tons) imported into Israel comply with Euro 4 standards since January 2006 and all heavy vehicles (above 3.5 tons) comply with this standard since October 2006.
b) The sulfur content in 98 octane gasoline has been reduced to 10 ppm. and 10 ppm sulfur diesel fuel has been introduced into some 15 gas stations throughout the country.
c) More stringent air pollution checks were introduced into the annual car registration tests for gas-powered vehicles, beginning with 1995 models, since March 2006. More stringent regulations on smoke emissions from diesel vehicles, which apply to the annual car registration test, beginning with 2001 models, came into force in June 2007.
One component of the national plan is for the reduction of vehicular pollution relates to electric cars. This issue has been highly publicized in Israel and worldwide due to an initiative by Project Better Place to make electric cars available on the Israeli market. It is expected that the first electric cars to be available in Israel in 2011.
The most highly polluting vehicles will be subject to additional purchase taxes of up to 15,000 shekels while taxes on clean vehicles will be reduced. Taxes on hybrid cars were reduced to 30%, within the framework of a new policy that will link the external costs of air pollution
and tax levels.
Meanwhile reductions in the number of air polluting days per year continue a downward trend from 2007 to 2006:-
a) In Tel Aviv the number dropped to 45 days compared to 59 days.
b) In Jerusalem 33 high air pollution days to 32 days.
c) In Haifa 7 high air pollution days compared to 15 days. .
d) In Bet Shemesh 12 high air pollution days compared to 22 days.
e) In Modi’in n22 high air pollution days compared to 18 days.
Such efforts cannot be maintained without a full education program and at least 30 hours of study at every age level are to budgeted, including out of classroom activities.
Further, instruction based on sustainable development guidelines is integrated with out of classroom activities and action in the environment.
Highlighting of the environment as a central subject is now carried out in the framework of science and technology and geography studies in the 2007/8 school year.
And finally, Initial training of some 100 leading teachers and assimilation of the subject on the regional level has been completed.
Let’s hope this can help to guarantee to improve the world and its climate.