Coastline Caretakers: How a “Tar Storm” Led to Environmental Restoration

The February 2021 “tar storm” that hit the coastline of Palmachim was an eye opening experience for ecologists across Israel. It demonstrated that the country’s natural resources and landmarks were at risk of being destroyed, not to mention the sea animals that call it home. However, due to the contributions from the The Samis Foundation and The Animal Welfare Institute, to the Israeli Nature and Heritage Foundation of America, as well as the joint effort by The Ministry of Environmental Protection and the Nature and Parks Authority, the coastline has been fully cleaned up.

The cleaning project in Palmachim alone yielded 55 tons of the total 1,400 tons of tar that was removed from the coastline. It was this location that was so problematic due to its position in Israel. It is a forgotten beach that is sandwiched between a military base and two ports. This has allowed it to become littered with plastic and waste due to neglect. It is beaches like this that need the most help, which is why many ecologists called the “tar storm” a blessing in disguise.

The tar removal and beach clean up allows sea animals to return to their natural habitat. One of the most important aspects of the cleanup was to secure the future of the beach. It is not enough to simply clean the beach and then disregard it — on the contrary, efforts are being made to ensure that the wildlife have a clean place to live, and beachgoers can use it as well. The reasoning behind every project is to affect future populations of wildlife, especially those who can’t fend for themselves.

The INHFA, along with The Samis Foundation and The Animal Welfare Institute came together in order to bring the beach in Palmachim back to life. It was through this incredible partnership that the beaches of Palmachim can now be enjoyed for generations to come.