The Israeli Parliament recently passed an amendment to the Traffic Order that will allow local authorities to take independent measures to tackle air pollution from traffic in their area. The amendment significantly expands the authority of municipalities and allows them to manage traffic in their jurisdiction in order to reduce pollution, as part of a multi-year plan for air pollution control.
Recently, new water treatment technologies that can increase the potential of water sources have been discussed in Israel. New technologies are not always included in routine methodologies due to the inconsistency between rapid technological development on the one hand and slow development of some regulatory systems on the other.
Traditionally in Israel, the issue of waste tyre recovery has not been regulated. However, the Tyre Disposal and Recycling Law 2007 has recently come into effect. The law aims to reduce the environmental nuisance caused by improper tyre disposal while promoting waste tyre recycling.
Israel tries to lead the way in alternative waste treatment, and on July 1 2007 the Maintenance of Cleanliness Law was amended to impose a landfill levy. The rate of the levy will be set according to the type of waste. The levy will be implemented gradually and incrementally over a period of five years.
The Prevention of Nuisance Law 1961 forbids the causing of unreasonable odours, noise or air pollution if this disturbs other parties in the surrounding area. However, no regulations have been passed under the law to prescribe quantitative values for the determination of odour nuisance. The Ministry of Environmental Protection has now issued draft procedures to remedy this omission.
Spurred on by an accident in 1997, when two Australian athletes died of severe lung inflammation caused by riverbed toxins, the Ministry of Environmental Protection has been considering measures to clean up Israeli riverbeds. However, due to the lack of national legislation on this issue, Israel is taking inspiration from Dutch and US law and practice on soil and sediment remediation.
In response to the massive growth of sources and devices for both industrial and private use that emit or may emit non-ionizing radiation, and as knowledge of the impact of such radiation grows, a new law to regulate this field, the Non-ionizing Radiation Law 2006, has recently come into force.
Israel has recently amended the regulations pertaining to safety data sheets for hazardous substances in order to implement requirements set out by EU legislation and international conventions and agreements. However, the amendment has given rise to uncertainty and a lack of clarity, which may be prejudicial to the interests of suppliers and users of chemicals.
The Environmental Prevention of Hazards (Civil Action) Law 1992, which grants the right to pursue a class action, has been amended. The new law substantially strengthens this right and provides financial incentives for plaintiffs and their legal counsel.
Traditionally, environmental policy has been implemented in Israel by means of technical rules. However, more recently regulations have begun to incorporate the international principles laid down in recent years - in particular, those set out by the Rio Declaration of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, which was adopted in June 1992.