Reports and Studies

On the Brink of Disaster<br>The Bait Lahia Treatment Plant and Human Rights

    Share :

1 June 2003

Introduction Within the last years, the open pools of the Beit Lahia sewage treatment plant have become the main environmental problem facing the Northern Area of Gaza.
The plant's limited capacity, its close vicinity to highly populated areas, and the steady increase of sewage have created a huge environmental and health problem for the surrounding communities.
The Al Mezan Center for Human Rights has organized several “Face-the-Public� – meetings with the responsible Palestinian Authorities.
As a result, there has been a stronger focus on the issue and more cooperation among different governmental departments to develop comprehensive and sustainable solutions to the problem.
Unfortunately, to this day all their efforts have been frustrated by continuous Israeli interference.
As a consequence, the communities of Um-An Nasir and Beit Lahia live on the verge of an environmental and humanitarian disaster.
This report intends to highlight the human rights implications of the problem and the threat to the entire North Area of Gaza.
It will introduce the problem of freshwater sources in the Gaza Strip and give an overview of existing wastewater treatment facilities and the related problems.
It will outline the history of the Beit Lahia treatment plant in North Gaza and the situation for the surrounding areas, specifically the Bedouin village of Um-An Nasir.
This section is followed by a description of the solutions developed by the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the obstacles the PA has faced in the implementation.
The second part of the report will go into the details of the various human rights implications including health problems, economic difficulties and threats to personal security.
It will then provide the legal background relevant to this case and conclude with recommendations for the international community and the Palestinian Authority.