Environmental emergency: Beit Lahia Waste Water Treatment Plant
28 January 2004
The Beit Lahia waste-water treatment plant in the northern Gaza strip was originally designed to serve up to 50,000 habitants. The total population of the area served by the plant is now around 190,000, and the plant has reached maximum capacity. 110 acres have already been flooded by waste from the plant, and this area is growing.
The effluent lake that has developed near the plant has created a serious health and environmental hazard. The area provides a natural breeding ground for mosquitoes and parasites, and the environment is also conducive to the transmission of water-born diseases. 50 per cent of children in the adjacent village have already developed problems with their digestive systems. Health professionals are also concerned about the effects of the high level of nitrates on the health of local populations.
Unless action is taken to address this problem, water in this effluent lake will spill out over the holding basins into residential areas, and directly into homes.