TA accidentally turns urban pond into death trap - Israel Environment, Ynetnews

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Deadly Mixup

Illustration Photo: Gadil Kabalo
Illustration Photo: Gadil Kabalo

TA accidentally turns urban pond into death trap

City sprays winter reservoir with harsh chemical pesticide by mistake, killing nearly every species living in it

Amir Ben David
Published: 05.22.12, 07:25 / Israel Environment

The City of Tel Aviv accidentally applied pest control to one of the metropolis' last remaining winter reservoirs, killing nearly every species in the immediate area, Yedioth Ahronoth reported.


According to the Society for Protection of Nature in Israel, the area's eco-system has suffered irrevocable damage. The Environmental Protection Ministry is looking into the case.

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Winter reservoirs are formed naturally following the rain season, creating an urban haven for small creatures, such as amphibians and birds. Some of the ponds dry up within weeks, but some can last months.


Several species have been known to thrive, albeit for a short time, in this unique eco-system, which urban development has made rare in the greater Tel Aviv area.


One of the few remaining areas to support the creation of winter reservoirs in located near the Holon branch of the Department of Motor Vehicles, which is home to two ponds.


The Society for Protection of Nature in Israel has been protecting the area against biting urban development for years: "This is a large, rare habitat that houses rare vegetation and animals, some of which are endangered. It has huge ecological significance," an SPNI official said.


To the SPNI's dismay, the creatures living in one of the ponds have been all but eradicated following the City's use of a banned pesticide.


City officials said that Tel Aviv makes substantial efforts to help in the preservation of such wetlands, but somehow, one of the ponds was categorized as suffering from a mosquito infestation.


Despite the fact that the ponds natural residents, such as frogs and birds, can take care of the majority of the problem naturally, the City ordered pest control. Unfortunately, the pesticide used created a greasy layer on top of the water, suffocating underwater life.


A Tel Aviv Municipality statement said that "the area has two ponds that are active breading grounds for insects. Pest control used an organic pesticide – which has no harmful effects – on one, and an oil-based pesticide on the other, seeing how it normally dries up in the summer and in not an active habitat for living creatures. Starting next year, we will use only organic pesticides."


The SPNI noted that "Given the area's real estate potential, the City's conduct is problematic – it says it wants to preserve the ponds, but things on the ground are mishandled.


"This is a classic case where the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing."



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