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Illegal landfill near Qalqilyah, between the towns of Jayus and Azun, Palestine


A waste dump near Qualqilyah between the towns of Jayus and Azun,is located on top of an aquifer that supplies a local Palestinian population of many thousands with drinking water. The dump became officially operational in 1989 and was used for dumping industrial and chemical waste from Israeli factories located inside the Green Line as well as domestic waste from the nearby Israeli colonies in Qana Valley. Local entities submitted a number of complaints to the Israeli 'Civil Administration' in the West Bank but no action was taken. When the Palestinian Authority was established in 1993, the village councils and municipalities resumed their attempts to close the dump but it was used until it reached capacity in 2000.

The olives from nearby groves have been recently designated as unmarketable, because of an unspecified risk of contamination. No one appears to have investigated and acted upon the risk of groundwater pollution arising from leaching through the soil of contaminants from the dump. The quality of the water pumped from the local well was not monitored for the presence of carcinogenic dioxins or any other of the cocktail of similar pollutants associated with landfills. There is no fencing or other notification of the site’s dangers; this is despite the evidence that children are drawn to it and play there, and that there are reports of children experiencing ill health (rashes, sickness) as a consequence. Another is the fact that periodically the dump spontaneously combusts, which is a hazard in its own right. A third is that it is believed that dumping still occurs at the site, without a permit. Fourthly, local inhabitants do not have access to any records of waste dumped at the site. Most important, however, is the disproportionately high incidence of cancer among the population served by the deep aquifer only 100 meters from the dump.

The Palestinian Environment Authority carried out a study in 2004 a study about the effect of the dumpsite on the surrounding communities. They found health impacts and also the presence of over 17 poisonous materials in the dumpsite, some of which are internationally forbidden [2]. The presence of the dumpsite has also led to an increase in the number of stray dogs and wild pigs that have caused damage to Palestinian crops and spread fear among residents of nearby villages.

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Illegal landfill near Qalqilyah, between the towns of Jayus and Azun, Palestine
State or province:Qalqilya
Location of conflict:Jayus
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict. 1st level:Waste Management
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Landfills, toxic waste treatment, uncontrolled dump sites
Specific commodities:Domestic municipal waste
Industrial waste

Project Details and Actors

Project details

Project area:0.5
Type of populationSemi-urban
Affected Population:12 000 population of Jayus and Azzoun
Start of the conflict:01/01/1998
Relevant government actors:Israeli Civil administration
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Local organizations, Al Haq

Conflict & Mobilization

IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Wastepickers, recyclers
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Public campaigns


Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Waste overflow, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Potential: Air pollution, Fires
Health ImpactsVisible: Other Health impacts, Accidents, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Other environmental related diseases
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Other socio-economic impacts


Project StatusUnknown
Conflict outcome / response:Application of existing regulations
Development of alternatives:Potential court action seeking remediation of contaminated water and prevention of further contamination
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No

Sources & Materials

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[1] The Israeli established garbage dumpsite between Azzun and Jayyus and its effect on humans and environment.

[2] Israeli dumping site amidst Palestinian residential areas

Meta information

Contributor:Environmental Justice in Palestine team
Last update31/03/2017