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OPT: Al Mezan organizes a workshop on the environmental risks in Um An-Nasser

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Al Mezan Center for Human Rightsheld a workshop on "North Gaza Sewage Treatment Plant (NGTP) and Environmental Risks in Um An-Nasser Village". It took place yesterday, Monday 10 September 2007. The workshop comes in line with the Center's efforts to promote human rights; especially economic, social and cultural rights (ESC). It focused on the rights to health, adequate housing and to clean environment in the village, which is located in the north of the Gaza Strip, and has seen frequent disasters as a result of the location and incapacity of the NGTP.

Nineteen people participated in the workshop, representing Um An-Nasser Municipality, BeitHanounMunicipality, BeitLahiaMunicipality, the Ministry of Public Works, the Environment Quality Authority, Act Against Hunger - Spain, Coastal Water Facility, UNRWA Department of Environmental Health, and OCHA. Other community figures from the north Gazadistrict also participated in the discussions.

The participants discussed the recent and current developments and problems of the NGTP and the future plans that aim to solve them and avoid new disasters in the village. In March 2007, one of the Plant's basins collapsed killing five people and creating an appalling health and environment impacts on the village.

They emphasized the necessity to find immediate and permanent solutions for these problems; especially by implementing the remainder of the construction of a new, modern sewage treatment planteast of Jabalia. This project has been suspended due to shortage of construction materials enforced by Israeli restrictions on movement. They also called for a recommencement of a previous back-up project linking the Plant with the sea and ensuring using it only when the need rises.

The residents of the village called on the Palestinian authorities, the UN and international donors to remove all the obstacles hindering the efforts to immediately solve their problem and transfer the Plant to a safer location.