Air pollution is a major and increasing problem in Israel. According to a 2004 study conducted by the (Air Pollution and Health) European Information System, the Tel Aviv-Jaffa region has the worst air pollution among European cities, causing over 1,500 deaths each year. Furthermore, the Israel Ministry of the Environment claims that one child in five suffers from breathing difficulties as a result of serious air pollution. Health care and other costs due to premature death and illness are estimated at over $77.4 million a year.
Transportation issues are considered the major culprit of air pollution in the Tel Aviv-Jaffa region. SPNI’s review of the city’s transportation policies showed that $220 million has been spent over the past five years on expansion and construction of roads and highways, while public transportation has not been improved. Plans for a light railway in the city have barely progressed, and viable solutions for a sustainable transportation policy in the city are scarcely visible.
SPNI proposals to address air pollution include:
- Proposing a Long-Term Action Plan: SPNI intends to form a steering committee on air pollution to formulate the policy.
- Public Awareness: SPNI will raise public consciousness on the need to address air pollution issue and educate the public about the various controversies that are delaying action, such as a long-standing dispute over a light rail or subway system.
- Work in Coalitions: SPNI intends to support the work of relevant transportation interest groups, such as the Bus Riders Union, the Tel Aviv Bicycle Association, and the Pedestrians Front.