Equal rights for equal citizens

Improving waste management in one of East Jerusalem's most neglected neighborhoods.

 

The neighborhood of Shuafat, in East Jerusalem, has suffered from prolonged neglect. Despite the separation fence which surrounds the neighborhood, Shuafat is under the jurisdiction of the Jerusalem Municipality. However, residents don’t receive basic services provided to all Jerusalem residents – a situation which heightens preexisting tensions and unrest.

 

Equal rights for equal citizens

Symptoms of neglect

Symptoms of neglect

Garbage collection has been outsourced, resulting in haphazard waste collection and lack of oversight. Piles of uncollected trash are either burned or residents are forced to pay for collection at their own expense. This is a severe sanitation hazard and direct damage to the residents’ quality of life.

 

“The filth, the smell and the fumes are serious public health hazards to residents” explains Hugit Shammai, Adam Teva V’Din’s environmental scientist. “Bacteria and viruses spread easily; the uncollected trash contaminates the soil and when burned, it pollutes the air.”

“Shuafat is completely cut off from the rest of Jerusalem. The Municipality knows where to find us for the taxes we owe, but not for the services we are entitled to receive.” - Jamil, resident of Shuafat

 

When the Municipality repeatedly ignored the residents’ concerns, our solid waste experts stepped in.

Fighting for environmental justice

Fighting for environmental justice

Hugit Shammai, environmental scientist

We proved numerous failings and miscalculations in the City tender, including limited services which met the needs of only a third of the neighborhood’s residents. Thanks to our intervention, representatives from Shuafat, Adam Teva V’Din and the City are devising a new waste collection plan, including oversight mechanisms and public participation.

 

“These are very complex issues which can’t be solved by one party alone," says Shammai. "By working together with the local residents and a partner NGO, we played an important role towards improving the quality of life in Shuafat. The residents were our eyes and ears on the ground and mapped out the number of garbage containers and how often they are emptied. Their important testimony was central to correcting this environmental injustice”.

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