Massive Landfill Site Turns Into Thriving Eco-Park
Israel’s largest landfill dump has undergone a massive makeover that has seen the mountain of garbage turn into a 2,000-acre ecological park three times the size of New York City’s Central Park. This new “green lung,” which includes a 150-acre recycling station, walking and cycling trails, ponds and extreme sports activities, will soon be home to a 50,000-seat amphitheater, one of the largest concert venues in Israel. And if that’s not enough, the biogas from this landfill, once a toxic pollutant, is now being reused as green energy.
The multi-million-dollar makeover of Hiriya, which started in 2001, has proven to benefit both the surrounding environment and visitors from all over the world. Now, what once was a huge dump between Road 4 and Road 461 in central Israel known for its unpleasant past, is no longer Israel’s ugliest site.
Mount Hiriya’s makeover was anything but simple due to the large amount of waste that had to be cleaned up. According to Shay Levi, head of the environmental planning department at the Ariel Sharon Park (formerly known as Hiriya), at its peak in 1998, the park saw 3,000 tons of waste enter on a daily basis. “There was enough garbage on this mountain to fill the Azrieli towers 25 times,” Levi tells NoCamels, referring to the three famous Tel Aviv skyscrapers. The landfill was active from 1952 to 1999, piling up to a total of 450,000 square meters of waste.
Beyond its natural beauty and magnificent views of Tel Aviv, Mount Hiriya serves a recreational purpose for families. The park, which opened to the public in July 2014, has become popular in recent months. It offers various guided tours that explain the rehabilitation process as well as educational recycling activities for kids. On weekends and holidays, the park averages roughly 1,000 visitors a day – and growing.
Next to the park is a recycling center and transfer station. Each day, approximately 800 garbage trucks deposit 3,000 tons of household waste and garden trimmings into the recycling station; and 400 more trucks bring approximately 1,500 tons of construction waste from 18 local municipalities in the area.
The overuse of the Hiriya landfill due to the rapid urbanization of Tel Aviv and its surrounding metro-area created drainage and contamination issues with the surrounding streams, as well as a buildup of toxic biogas. Now, not only is the biogas being cleaned up, it’s also being shipped to a nearby city for use as green energy.
Continue reading at ENN affiliate, NoCamels.
Landfill image via Shutterstock.