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A war of water

Posted By macy in Planning and Management

Environmental problems in Israel and the Palestinian territories can't wait for the resumption of peace talks

The water spouts from a broken pipe, forming a perfect circle before it is dispersed by the wind and falls on the breaking waves of the Mediterranean sea.

It looks like a fountain, but the pipe that runs from the town of Rafah to the sea by Gaza's border with Egypt contains raw sewage. It enters the sea by the Swedish Village, so-called because it was built by Swedish UN soldiers in the 1960s. In the overcrowded village it is impossible to escape the smell of sewage.

The discharge is one of at least a dozen which pollutes the sea off Gaza. The worst is Wadi Gaza, where a steady flow of raw sewage blackens the sea for kilometres. The currents in the eastern Mediterranean move northwards, bringing sand from the Nile delta and sewage traces from Gaza to the beaches of Israel.

Gaza's sewage problem is just one of several environmental issues which affect both Palestinians and Israelis. Friday 5 June was World Environment Day, and it is appropriate to take a moment to survey the environmental damage around us and ask what can be done to prevent it. http://www.guardian.co.uk -

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