Illegal landfill near Qalqilyah, between the towns of Jayus and Azun, Palestine

Dump site used for industrial and chemical waste from Israeli factories located inside the Green Line as well as domestic waste settlements contaminates groves and puts community's health at risk

A waste dump near Qualqilyah between the towns of Jayus and Azun,is located on top of an aquifer that supplies a local Palestinian population of many thousands with drinking water. The dump became officially operational in 1989 and was used for dumping industrial and chemical waste from Israeli factories located inside the Green Line as well as domestic waste from the nearby Israeli colonies in Qana Valley. Local entities submitted a number of complaints to the Israeli 'Civil Administration' in the West Bank but no action was taken. When the Palestinian Authority was established in 1993, the village councils and municipalities resumed their attempts to close the dump but it was used until it reached capacity in 2000. The olives from nearby groves have been recently designated as unmarketable, because of an unspecified risk of contamination. No one appears to have investigated and acted upon the risk of groundwater pollution arising from leaching through the soil of contaminants from the dump. The quality of the water pumped from the local well was not monitored for the presence of carcinogenic dioxins or any other of the cocktail of similar pollutants associated with landfills. There is no fencing or other notification of the site’s dangers; this is despite the evidence that children are drawn to it and play there, and that there are reports of children experiencing ill health (rashes, sickness) as a consequence. Another is the fact that periodically the dump spontaneously combusts, which is a hazard in its own right. A third is that it is believed that dumping still occurs at the site, without a permit. Fourthly, local inhabitants do not have access to any records of waste dumped at the site. Most important, however, is the disproportionately high incidence of cancer among the population served by the deep aquifer only 100 meters from the dump. The Palestinian Environment Authority carried out a study in 2004 a study about the effect of the dumpsite on the surrounding communities. They found health impacts and also the presence of over 17 poisonous materials in the dumpsite, some of which are internationally forbidden [2]. The presence of the dumpsite has also led to an increase in the number of stray dogs and wild pigs that have caused damage to Palestinian crops and spread fear among residents of nearby villages.
Basic Data
NameIllegal landfill near Qalqilyah, between the towns of Jayus and Azun, Palestine
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Waste Management
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Landfills, toxic waste treatment, uncontrolled dump sites
Specific CommoditiesDomestic municipal waste
Industrial waste
Project Details and Actors
Project Area (in hectares)0.5
Type of PopulationSemi-urban
Potential Affected Population12 000 population of Jayus and Azzoun
Start Date01/01/1998
Relevant government actorsIsraeli Civil administration
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersLocal organizations, Al Haq
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)LOW (some local organising)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Wastepickers, recyclers
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of MobilizationCommunity-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Public campaigns
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Waste overflow, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Potential: Air pollution, Fires
Health ImpactsVisible: Other Health impacts, Accidents, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Other environmental related diseases
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Other socio-economic impacts
Project StatusUnknown
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseApplication of existing regulations
Development of AlternativesPotential court action seeking remediation of contaminated water and prevention of further contamination
Do you consider this as a success?No
Sources and Materials

[1] The Israeli established garbage dumpsite between Azzun and Jayyus and its effect on humans and environment.
[click to view]

[2] Israeli dumping site amidst Palestinian residential areas
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorEnvironmental Justice in Palestine team
Last update31/03/2017