Zalul, an Israeli environmental organization dedicated to preserving the country's marine environments, has released a report harshly critical of municipal sewerage and industrial wastewater practices.
"Israel is the biggest polluter in the eastern Mediterranean, dumping over 140 tons of heavy metals into the sea every year with government approval, an environmental group claimed in a recently published report.
According to the Zalul organization, more than 100 permits for discharging wastewater into the sea are granted by a government committee every year -sometimes very close to bathing beaches.
"The state of Israel's coastal waters is appalling," the environmental group Zalul said in its State of the Sea Report for 2007.
The 21 countries ringing the Mediterranean share problems like coastal overdevelopment, over fishing and pollution but in Israel, long preoccupied with security issues, environmental awareness has been slow to take hold.
The most recent United Nations report on the Mediterranean ranked the greater Tel Aviv area as one of the 10 most polluting urban centers in the Mediterranean.
Israel's largest polluter is the Shafdan, or the Dan Region Association of Towns for Sewage and Environmental Issues. It is responsible for the sewage of the greater Tel Aviv area,consisting of 26 municipalities. "