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Israeli siege forces Gazans to drink polluted water

Local Editor

Palestinian Water Authority has warned that around 90 percent of water in the Gaza Strip is polluted due to the Israeli regime’s blockade of the impoverished coastal enclave.

“There has been a sharp increase in pollution in recent years, as well as seawater seeping into aquifer. Around 90 percent of Gaza water is now polluted,” said Ahmad Yacoubi, the director of Palestinian Water Authority.

The water in Gaza is contaminated with high levels of Nitrates and Chloride. The pollutants are three times higher than normal levels and are unfit for human consumption.

Israel bombed sewage treatment plants during its war on Gaza in 2009. It also prevents water and sewage treatment equipment from entering the enclave. Despite the presence of some under-developed water treatment plants, water remains polluted due to long hours of power outages as well as the lack of fuel needed to run the plants.

Gaza’s sole seawater desalination plant is unable to meet the demands for fresh drinking water due to its small size and its limited capabilities.

“Seawater desalination is the only solution right now to solve the water problem. Currently, the aquifer itself is polluted and things could only get worse in coming years. We only have this desalination plant and this is not enough to provide people in Gaza with clean water,” said Ahmad Robaie, the director of Gaza Desalination Plant.

The United Nations said in a report in 2012 that Gaza’s coastal aquifer may become unusable by 2016.

Gaza has been blockaded since June 2007, a situation that has caused a decline in the standards of living, unprecedented levels of unemployment, and unrelenting poverty.

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