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Israel closes beaches after oil spill, authorities speak of a huge ecological disaster

Israel has closed all Mediterranean beaches indefinitely. Several tons of tar have washed up on hundreds of kilometers of beach. Authorities speak of one of the worst ecological disasters the country has faced.

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The Israeli government says a large oil spill in an unknown place at sea is the cause of the pollution. Article link

The pollution was first noticed on Wednesday. Then environmentalists found black tar on the beaches.

Several animals are said to have died as a result of contact with tar. Several birds and sea turtles have been found covered in the black sticky substance. A dead whale washed ashore died after it ingested tar, according to researchers at the Ministry of Agriculture.

A tanker may have lost oil

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The Department of Environmental Protection says in Haaretz newspaper that the most obvious scenario is that a tanker has lost oil. Israel is trying to find the ship responsible for the pollution.

Thousands of volunteers gathered today to clean up the oil residue from the beaches. Some of them had to go to hospital because they had inhaled toxic fumes. Article link

The authorities then decided to close more than 195 kilometers of beach. “Exposure to tar can be harmful to public health,” said a statement.

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The environment minister thinks that cleaning the beaches will cost millions of euros. Nature conservation estimates that the clean-up will take years.

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