Cancer fears prompt shutdown of five plants in Haifa
The Israeli Health Ministry linked higher cancer rates among Haifa residents to air pollution. (AFP/File)
The mayor of Israel’s third largest city, Haifa, has ordered the shutdown of five petrochemical plants after a warning by Israeli Health Ministry linking high cancer rates among residents to air pollution.
Mayor Yona Yahav said on Sunday that city trucks were ordered to block the entry points to the Israeli regime’s Oil Refineries as well as Petroleum and Energy Infrastructure, both based in the northern port city.
"From now on, no tankers will have access to the factories," he said in remarks announcing the closure of the five facilities as cited in an AFP report.
The measure was taken after a senior Israeli Health Ministry official warned the regime’s Interior Ministry's planning department in a letter about a disproportionately high cancer rate in Haifa due to the operation of the petrochemical factories.
The letter cited a Hebrew University study that found “an increased risk of developing cancer in a heavily-industrialized sub-district" of the city.
"Compared to the incidence in the rest of Israel, the Haifa sub-district population had an elevated hazard ratio of lung, head and neck, colo-rectal, gastric and esophagus, bladder and cervical carcinoma," the researchers stated in the study.
This is while Israel Oil Refineries said in a statement that it had invested over a billion shekels (USD 255 million) in "preserving the environment and diminishing pollutant emissions."