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Raw sewage from Gaza polluting al-Majdal (Ashkelon) beaches
Raw sewage from Gaza polluting al-Majdal (Ashkelon) beaches
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Gaza, ALRAY - The Gaza Strip’s sewage treatment plants reportedly suffering frequent blackouts due to the Israeli illegal siege imposed on the coastal enclave since 2007.

Shortages of fuel and spare parts have crippled Palestinian sewage treatment facilities, already strained by the fast-growing population, forcing officials to divert constant streams of raw and semi-treated sewage into the Mediterranean Sea where the sea currents move north.

Repeated failures of sewage treatment plants in the Gaza Strip has caused significant beach pollution in and around Ashkelon and endangered water quality in the Mediterranean Sea, recent testing by Israel’s Environmental Protection Ministry has found.

 Water quality tests conducted in late April by the World Health Organization at 13 points along Gaza’s coast found that four sites — three in Gaza City and one in Rafah, in the south – are contaminated with dangerous levels of bacteria associated with feces.

The findings, to be published in an upcoming report warning of health risks in Gaza and Israel, revealed high concentrations of fecal coliforms and fecal streptococci, which indicate the possible presence of disease-causing bacteria and viruses.

Palestinian health officials have recommended that beaches near the contaminated water be closed for a season and have urged fishermen not to fish close to the coastline.

 Millions of gallons of partially treated and untreated sewage from the Gaza Strip have been flowing daily into the Mediterranean Sea, according to Palestinian water authority officials and a report issued by the U.N. humanitarian office in Gaza.