The United Nations wants to transform a historic valley in the Palestinian Gaza Strip from a sewage dump into a nature reserve.
The Gaza Valley is a large wetland area and home to many plants and animals. It has become badly polluted over the past few decades, full of rubbish with a sewage smell.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has put together a $66 million project plan to save the nature reserve.
“It’s an integrative initiative to revive this place and transform it from a health hazard, where the stench of sewage is flowing, into a place that can serve as a destination for the residents of the Gaza Strip, a touristic and educational destination,” said Mohammed Abu Shaaban, the UNDP’s project coordinator.
The project will take several years to complete. “In March, we will start removing the solid waste and the concrete and debris in the Wadi [valley], opening the route, doing the soil reclamation and planting many trees,” said Abu Shaaban.
A new water treatment station in central Gaza has allowed treated water to flow into the valley, improving the environment of birds, reptiles, mammals and amphibians.
On Sunday, 40 Palestinians visited the site in support of the project. “We came from all over the Gaza Strip to tell the people that Gaza Valley is being transformed and it will be restored as a nature reserve,” said 26-year-old Mohammad Aburjaila.
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