Burning Israel’s e-waste drives cancer rates in West Bank

i24NEWS

3 min read
This photograph taken on June 22, 2021 shows electronic waste from computer hard disk parts at the Bureau de Recherches Geologiques et Minieres in Orleans, France.
Christophe Archambault/AFPThis photograph taken on June 22, 2021 shows electronic waste from computer hard disk parts at the Bureau de Recherches Geologiques et Minieres in Orleans, France.

Dancziger says that 'There’s a very powerful economic incentive here'

Many in the West Bank turn to burning electronic waste from Israel and scavenging the leftover metals for a living, but the practice is causing a number of people to fall ill as a result of the toxic smoke produced.

Children who live in towns near the e-waste burning sites develop cancer at four times the rate of those living in other parts of the West Bank, The Times of Israel (ToI) reported, citing research conducted by Yaakov Garb, a professor at Israel’s Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

Health authorities said that a Palestinian town near Hebron, Beit Awwa, buried four cancer victims across a span of just one week in November.

Although the transport of waste material to the West Bank is outlawed under both Israeli and Palestinian law, the lucrative practice remains ongoing.

To cut back on disposal costs, some firms in Israel will send their garbage to smugglers who import the trash to the territory in order to strip it for precious metals.

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“Disposing of a ton of electronic waste or other trash can be hundreds of shekels cheaper in the Palestinian Authority than in Israel,” ex-director-general of the Environmental Protection Ministry Yisrael Dancziger said, according to ToI.

“There’s a very powerful economic incentive here,” he added.

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