Preserving the environment has moved to the top of the public agenda, as has the need to adjust our lifestyles and protect our health.
In Holon, we believe the two are linked. Several years ago, Holon declared itself a healthy and sustainable city, updated its urban vision accordingly, and launched a number of projects to advance its residents' health and quality of life.
From the city's vision statement:
"Holon will be a leader providing residents with a high quality of life and will be managed according to principles of health and sustainability."
"The city will take steps to limit the emission of pollutants and greenhouse gases. Holon, with the help of its residents, businesses and organizations, will promote green building, energy conservation and sustainable public transport, will reduce the volume of waste and cultivate green spaces."
Holon Municipality considers itself responsible for the health and wellbeing of its present and future residents, and so it pledges to:
Acknowledge the importance of preserving natural assets and biodiversity.
Educate about environmental values and endeavor to instill them across the entire population.
Develop the city while striving toward maintaining a sustainable balance between the economic activity, the environment and the residents' quality of life. All City's activities and operations will be guided by values of preserving nature and landscape, while efficiently using natural resources.
Manage the local authority according to principles of equality, wellbeing, and sustainability – in collaboration with its residents.
Improve the residents' health and narrow the health gap.
The primary way to instill and promote environmental and social responsibility is through education. Our children are the best agents of change there are; their help and "nudging" can get us to alter even the most longstanding habits.
The Holon Municipality initiates environmental activities for all the city's children in grades K-12 and through informal educational frameworks and community programs. Special citations are given to schools that excel in promoting environmental awareness.
Green activities conducted by the schools include: Installing photovoltaic cells on the roof to utilize solar energy; recycling paper and drink bottles; dismantling and recycling electronic waste, eliminating weeds that encroach on the sand dunes and more.
Our adults learn how to preserve the environment, too. Holon has numerous study programs, projects and continuing education courses on environmental topics. Residents can get involved in environmental protection by training to be members of the Clean Patrol.
The Holon Municipality, in accordance with the Environmental Protection Ministry policy, considers broadening the scope of waste recycling a top national priority. As such, the municipality has placed installations and receptacles throughout the city to collect recyclable materials. Residents are encouraged to dispose of their newspapers and other paper waste, plastic bottles, old clothes and discarded appliances in the designated bins.
Waste: Turning Nuisance into Resource
Modern consumerism finds expression in the excessive purchases of material goods and the frequent disposal of undamaged products. Manufacturing processes of new products involve major environmental consequences, such as: overuse of non-renewable resources, pollution caused by the manufacturing process, the transportation, the shipping, etc.
Overconsumption also induces an increase in the amount of waste per capita. The average Israeli citizen produces 1.9 kilograms of waste per day. In Holon, 100,000 tons of waste are produced per year, most of which are transported to landfill sites. Apart from taking up vast amounts of land, the disposal of waste in landfill sites is the cause of various environmental damages, including the emission of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, ground and water pollution, and the spreading of different types of diseases. Manufactured waste is made out of materials which are, for the most part, recyclable, and can find their way back into the industry as secondary materials. Sorting domestic waste increases the value of the components and allows for a more efficient recycling of each component, resulting in a reduced demand for raw materials extraction, transportation, and processing, and consequently in reduced waste volumes.
Following is the internationally recommended Three Rs principle for waste treatment:
Reduce: The first and most important principle is reducing the amount of waste production.
Reuse: The second most important principle is the reuse of the same materials for the same purpose.
Recycle: The third principle is recycling. Following the exhaustion of all reuse options, the most environmental solution is recycling waste components and turning them into secondary materials.
In recent years, national endeavors are directed at the provision of waste sorting facilities, and recycling is on the agenda of all public educational institutions.
Holon Municipality has installed recycling facilities for plastic, paper, textile, and electronic waste. Throughout 2014, designated orange bins for the collection of packages, purple bins for the collection of glass items, and flattened cardboard collection points have been placed around the city.
At the same time, educational activities have been undertaken to raise awareness of environmental preservation, and each year more and more kindergartens and schools are qualified as "green" institutions.
Changing our consumption habits, combined with the reuse, sorting, and recycling of waste, will lead to a true revolution in waste treatment. Each one of us makes a difference.
As a Healthy and Sustainable City, Holon urges its residents to take an active role in the endeavors to increase waste recycling and reduce the volumes of waste sent to landfill.
Energy Saving – Alternative Energy
Upon discussing energy resources used by humans, one must distinguish between nonrenewable energy resources (quarried from the earth's crust, i.e. petroleum, coal, gas) and renewable energy resources (i.e. wind power, solar energy, hydropower).
As public awareness of global warming and the ecological crisis increases, the transition toward controlled energy consumption and usage of renewable energy is gaining momentum. Fossil fuel saving will contribute to the economy, to the environment, and to future generations.
The effects of global warming can be reduced through:
Reducing pollutants from residential properties and industrial areas.
Encouraging industries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and use clean energy.
Streamlining energy use and achieving immediate energy saving within the local authority institutions (moving towards energy efficient practices).
Implementing Green Building principles in new residential construction across the city.
Integrating alternative energies (solar energy, wind power) in future municipal projects.
The Principles of Sustainable Transportation
A sustainable transportation system serves the needs of both the society and the economy while preserving the environment and reducing environmental impacts. The challenge we face as a society is to develop a sustainable transportation system that preserves the environment without compromising accessibility, and to plan the national transportation system while taking long-term considerations into account.
Since transportation is the source of most urban emissions of greenhouse gases, measures to preserve the environment can include:
Establishing a mass transportation system throughout the city and within the Industrial Zone (light rail, railways, redeployment of public transportation stations).
Efficient planning of public transportation lines, allocating designated bus lanes, ensuring efficient overlap between the different modes of transport.
Reducing private car usage (creating car-free zones).
Encouraging the usage of alternative transportation as part of a healthy lifestyle, by investing in a cycling and walking friendly infrastructure, promoting the usage of clean public transportation/alternative energies.