University of Haifa Researchers Find Too Many Israelis are Lazy About Disposing Their Garbage in Dumpsters

Hashem took the man and placed him in the garden of Eden, to till it and tend it.




(the israel bible)

February 9, 2021

3 min read

Although the Torah instructs man to take care of nature, almost every second person in Israel admits that he/she littered in nature areas at least once in 2020, according to a new survey by researchers at the University of Haifa. 


When asked why, the most common answer is: “There was no garbage dumpster nearby.” When queried why other people litter, most     the respondents replied: “They enjoy doing that.”


Naama Lev – a research student writing her thesis working under  Prof. Ofira Ayalon from the university’s department of natural resources and the environment and Dr. Maya Negev from the School of Public Health and collected the depressing results – said: “Most people don’t admit that they did something unacceptable and dumped waste, so it is likely that the percentage of litterers is even greater than this figure.”


Not littering in public areas is all a matter of education for responsibility, caring and identifying with one’s society.


The use of plastic and other non-organic waste has been skyrocketing in Israel as a matter of convenience, and leaving litter in public spaces is evidence of the lack of education about how to dispose of the junk. Garbage in the streets, beaches, parks and nature sites creates many socio-economic and environmental problems, aesthetic damage, soil and water pollution, damage to public health, the spread of disease, harm to biodiversity, blockages in sewage systems and economic harm due to reduced tourism.


In less-advanced and less-sophisticated countries like Indonesia and Turkey, there are collection machines for depositing empty plastic bottles and aluminum cans for which one can receive a free trip on the subway or a free meal. In Switzerland, machines in parks and other publish places disperse cold cash in exchange for empty containers. But while empty bottles and cans are collected in supermarkets and grocery stores in lieu of the original deposit, the Environmental Quality Ministry has done nothing to adopt the techniques used in these other countries and to encourage adults and children to collect and bring in the empty containers. 


The study involved 401 participants, 90% of whom said they had visited a nature or park site at least once last year. Fully 98.5% of the respondents said it was important to them that the sites they visit are clean. But despite this – and apparently due to laziness and lack of caring – more than 45% of respondents stated that they dumped litter and polluted nature at least once in the past year. 


The study also shows that waste dumpers were both male and female, of all religions and ages and from all regions of the country. Nevertheless, young people, the ultra-Orthodox and residents of the Jerusalem area littered more often than others.


Participants in the study were asked to describe the types of waste they discarded as well as what other people discarded. The respondents admitted that they littered by disposing of food scraps, wet wipes, toilet paper as well as cigarette butts outside of dumpsters. They said they saw other people dumping disposable utensils and plastic bottles and – most frequently – cigarette butts.  


“According to the participants, there are types of garbage such as organic waste, toilet paper and wet wipes, which are considered legitimate for dumping at nature sites and parks in Israel,” the researchers said. 


One study participant said that “cigarette butts for example, or things I thought were perishable like shells of seeds are small things that are bothersome to carry to dumpsters and seem harmless.” Another participant said that “lots of smokers view cigarette butts as “biodegradable so they throw them on the ground.”

The researchers also asked what could be done to reduce littering. When the respondents were asked about the reason why they themselves threw garbage, they answered answers such as “there was no garbage can,” “the garbage bin was far away” or “I didn’t see one” and that others do it “for fun.” 

The beaches, nature reserves and around the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) were regarded as the dirtiest. 

“This suggests that littering behavior is influenced by many factors and that the ways of dealing with the phenomenon should be different and varied. Educating the public, better infrastructure, enforcement and giving fines are needed,” the researchers said. 

 Decisionmakers, who are responsible for dealing with the phenomenon of littering and dumping waste at nature sites and other public areas should take into account the characteristics of the phenomenon in Israel,” they concluded. 



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