POLLUTION IN THE
ESTUARY AND FISHING HARBOUR
2 Dekel St., Kiryat Tiv’on 36056
Starting with th
e 1960s’ the lower Kishon River
has gradually become
a carrier of some 15,000
cu.m/day of poisonous and carcinogenous industrial, and municipal
that turned Kishon into
a dead river, lethal to all life, and corroding metals at a
. The river has become a polluted
sewer, and the fishing harbour to it sedimentation
that both its water and bottom comprise
poisonous and carcinogenous matters in concentrations exceeding by tens and even hundreds times
the permited standar
ds. Among those pollutants
found also voluble materials known as
caused heavy air pollution in the area.
At the ascent of the 20
the epidemics of cancer among marine commandos and Kishon based fishermen,
damage to boats anchoring in the Kishon harbour and to the harbour’s mooring installations
awakened public attention to
the extent of the pollution
. This led to the setting up of an investiga
and various litigations.
of many polluters, a few major plants
responsible for about 90% of the
pollutants flowing in the Kishon
, above all
Haifa Chemicals, Haifa Refinery, Carmel Ulpinim,
serving Haifa area. Cr
ude oil and
s is the main source of organic substances and nickel found in the fishing
is supplying s
ome 100,000 cu.m/day of effluents comprising
and also some 800
900 mt of fluorid.
has been releasing
to Kishon 14 mt/day of dense acid liquid, rich in suspended heavy metals.
contribution of heavy metals by this plant to Kishon
10 mt; copper
2.3 mt; nickel 8.4 mt; zinc
54 mt, and sma
ller amounts of lead, arsenic, and
All these figures are based on data
submitted by the polluting plants.
director of the Kishon River authority
told the Shamgar commision that plants
omitting or understating extr
and pollutants concentrations
In spite of improvements initiated at the end of the last century, Kishon remains the most
polluted of Israel’s rivers. Its catchment area covers the Ezdrelon Valley, Mt.Carmel slopes,
Menasse, and the sout
rn parts of the Lower Galilee.
It flows through Israel’s largest industrial
area and receives on the way large amounts of pollutants. Its estuary, including the
commercial and fishing harbours, is approximately at sea level, and is affected by tides. Duri
weak summer flow,
flows a few kilometres upstream.
Most of the time, the amount of
clean water entering Kishon is small in relation to that of the effluents. Thus, the liquid, which
flows in it is filthy and smelly. The slow current facilitate
s sedimentation of the pollutants in the
bottom sludge, so that only part of them reaches the sea.
The fishing harbour represent
s an artificial pond, dug out in
the right (north) riverside, just
ercial harbour, and its entrance tends
to silt up. Most studies of
Kishon and its pollution sidest
ed the fishing harbour, hence less data than on the remaining
parts of the Kishon system.
Due to its topography and flow conditions, the fishing harbour traps more pollutants than any
ection of the estuary. One reason for this is the Coriolis force
, a rightwise vector (in the
which makes certain that the polluted water enters the fishing harbour.
The water flowing west to the sea tend to enter it more than the tide
driven seawater flowing
, but t
he fishing harbour is a sedimentation pond for both.
part of the
bed sludge to the sea, but not that of
the fishing harbour.
For example, in the 1991 flood, not only that the fishing harbour wa
s not “cleaned”, but its
entrance was silted up.
According to measurements carried out between 1987 and 1991,
during the d
in the entrance
year to a depth of 4 m, a 2
deep polluted sledge fo
und in 1991 accumulated during
The mechanism, which enables
to the fishing harbour’s bottom,
is as follows: the polluted water that enter the harbour are mostly acid (very low pH), which
does not support sedimentation of
he not acid, heavy seawater that
enters the fishing harbour in flood tide doesn’t mix well with the Kishon water,
stratification. In the interface, however, and whenever
mix the two
layers, the acidity is reduced an
d conditions created for
the heavy metals
the pollutants from the upper layer to the bottom sledge.
Notwithstanding, each time a boat activates its propeller, some pollutants are raised back into
ater, where they remain for a while
, before they settle back
Public outrage, litigation and establishment of the Kishon River Authority,
pressure towards reducing the pollution, but there’s still long way to go to return to Kish
*) Submitted to the 2006 Annual Conference of Israel Society for Aquatic Research and