The Minister of Environmental Protection, Tamar Zandberg, warned today (Tuesday) about the continued high air pollution near the Tel Aviv Central Station and that a delay in the evacuation of the Central Station leads to unnecessary damage to the health of the residents. The Minister sent a letter on the subject to the Minister of Transportation, Meirav Michaeli, and to the Mayor of Tel Aviv-Yafo, Ron Huldai.
At the air monitoring station near the central station in Tel Aviv, high air pollution has been measured in recent years, which is mainly due to the operation of diesel-powered buses.
In 2019 and 2020, the abnormalities of the annual environmental system for nitrogen dioxide were measured at this monitoring station. The year 2021 has not yet ended, but it is clear that this year, too, the pollutant concentrations measured at the station are high. These persistent anomalies indicate chronic exposure of residents and residents in the area to high air pollution that exceeds the provisions of the law and is four times higher than the new recommendations of the World Health Organization. Air pollution affects even more severely vulnerable populations including children, the elderly, pregnant women and heart-lung patients.
In 2021, 30 days were even measured at the station, in which the concentration of the delicate respiratory particles (PM2.5) was higher than the environmental value set by law (in 14 days of these, dust storms occurred which contributed significantly to the high pollution). These short-term anomalies indicate acute exposure of residents and residents in the area to high air pollution.
In light of these data, the Minister of Environmental Protection believes that the solution to tackling the problem of air pollution in the Tel Aviv Central Station area includes two essential components: electrification of public transportation; And the diversion of bus activity from the central station, towards a number of public transport facilities – the main one of which is the Panorama terminal.
280 parking spaces are planned at the Panorama terminal, with electric charging being possible at 150 of them. This means that the construction of the terminal will be possible "For electricity" At once about a quarter of the bus parking spaces that currently exist in Tel Aviv. Since more than one bus can be loaded at each station, it is estimated that the construction of the terminal will allow the conversion of at least 30% of all buses in Tel Aviv to electric buses. This move will reduce the population’s exposure to air pollution, prevent emissions and lead to an improvement in the state of the environment.
The Minister of Environmental Protection’s position is that the transfer of Central Station activity to other terminals should be done under the mandatory planning procedure, in which the relevant environmental impacts such as compliance with environmental values for air quality in nearby sensitive uses, noise and other effects will be examined.
In a letter to Michaeli and Huldai, the minister stated that part of the terminal is planned on an urban nature site. This site has been known for years, and was known when locating the areas for the alternative terminals presented by the municipality at the planning stage.
The Minister emphasized that the gaps that have now emerged concern only a small part of the site, and the municipality’s position regarding the need to preserve it – only slightly reduces the scope of activity that can be designated for it.
The Minister of Environmental Protection sees great importance in the preservation of urban nature sites and works tirelessly to promote the preservation of urban nature throughout the country. However, the Minister noted that in this case it is a nature site that is mostly of relatively low environmental sensitivity, when faced with equally acute environmental and health values, and in this case, even more.
Therefore, the Minister called for not delaying or thwarting the relocation of transportation activities at the Central Bus Station and the promotion of electrification of public transportation in Tel Aviv. "As much as possible to minimize damage to the site, it is appropriate to do so, but as these two values face each other, and given the low sensitivity of the nature site compared to the intensity of environmental damage caused daily by diesel bus activity at Central Station, priority should be given to evacuating the station. instead of", She added.