West Bank and Gaza
Land Use, Economic and Social Development, Management, Recycling, Disposal
July 1, 2001
The World Bank, Deborah Davis
The West Bank and Gaza suffer from severe environmental degradation, including deterioration of groundwater and uncontrolled dumping of solid waste. These problems have been addressed in Gaza with the assistance of bilateral donors, but until the design of the Solid Waste and Environment Management Project (SWEMP) in 2000, they were largely neglected in the West Bank. Solid waste management practices in the West Bank are characterized by infrequent and inadequate waste collection services, improper disposal at open dump sites, and open air burning. Hospital and household waste are mixed together at sites that are only marginally controlled. Litter and waste are dumped in open lots, on the roadside, and in small village dumps. Odors from these sites discourage tourism, thus depriving residents of a possible source of income. Moreover, runoff and leachate threaten to pollute groundwater aquifers, the West Bank's main source of water supply. These environmental and public health problems are compounded by weak infrastructure and lack of institutional capacity.