The popular WAZE smartphone navigation app recently introduced a new feature – a water pollution
The feature aims to tell users if the lake or river they pass by or intend on swimming in while hiking or camping across Israel,
suffers from pollution.
The feature is the brainchild of the app's architects and Zalul Environmental Association, which is dedicated to the protection and preservation of Israel's seas, rivers and lakes.
WAZE users passing by a polluted waterway see a pop-up window on their smartphomes' screens, telling them it is polluted and naming the parties known to be responsible for the pollution.
Zalul said that the campaign is meant to raise the public's awareness to the growing problem of river pollution in Israel.
The feature, launched just before the High Holidays, has so far sent out over 120,000 alerts to users, and had recorded 820,000 "points of exposure."
Zalul Spokesman Rami Sadeh said that according to the group's data, none of Israel's 14 rivers flowing into the Mediterranean Sea are unfit for swimming.
Zalul said that the campaign also aims to increase pressure on the Energy and Water Ministry and the other relevant authorities to stop giving industries permits to pump waste into Israel's rivers, as well as demand increased enforcement against polluters.
Pollution in the Kishon River
Zalul CEO Maya Jacobs added that river pollution "Is an ongoing failure by the government, local authorities and private companies, which see rivers as a sewage pipeline and not a unique public asset.
"The majority of Israel's rivers and lakes are polluted with swage that is drastically harming the environment and risk the public's health."
Zalul's job, she added, "Is to remind the public that it has the right to demand clean rivers and demand that the government see to it."
The Water Authority offered the following comment: "Israel is one of the world's leaders in the field of wastewater recycling and reclamation.
"This action is subject to very clear guidelines as to the quality of water that can be re-pumped into waterways." The treated wastewater reintroduced into Israel's rivers and lakes, the Water Authority said, "Meets these strict guidelines."
Without the reintroduction of treated water to rivers, the Water Authority said, "Many of Israel's rivers would simply dry up."