Within the framework of a unique project of cooperation between the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Palestinian research organizations, two engineers of the Palestinian Meteorological Service have come to the university for training and advanced study. This was the first time in many months that this has been possible.
Prof. Menachem Luria and Dr. Daniel Pederson of the Institute of Earth Sciences, together with a team from the university's air quality research laboratory, are this week instructing the professional staff of the Palestinian Meteorological Service in operating equipment to measure air pollution.
The equipment was purchased by the Hebrew University with the funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in order to enable the project of scientific cooperation.
The purpose of the project is to include in the Israel data base on air pollution the data on air pollution in the Gaza Strip because of the mutual influence of Israel and Gaza on each other.
According to Prof. Luria, "Most of the air pollutants are released along the Mediterranean coast, since it is there that the most intensive economic activity is to be found, from the north of Israel to the Gaza strip. The pollutant which are released along the coast are carried inwards to the West Bank, the mountainous region and Jordan, so that there is a movement of pollution from Tel Aviv to the West Bank and in addition from the Gaza Strip to Israel."
The advantage in the cooperation is that when the national system for control of air pollution receives data from the Gaza strip and the West Bank, the measurements will be more thorough and more exact than at present and will serve both sides, said Luria.
According to the two engineers, Ali Hassan abu Eid and Akram Salim el Akras, of the Palestinian Meteorological Service in Gaza, "This new equipment, not yet available in Gaza, will help us to examine the level of air pollution so that we can work for better environmental quality. We hope for additional cooperation between the Authority and Israel".