Visitors to Israel have long been welcomed by a stinking, ugly eyesore: a nearly 200 foot high mountain of waste. Close to the Ben Gurion Airport, the landfill is now closed and undergoing an almost miraculous transformation. Now, instead of an eyesore, the site is home to a beautiful urban park set to be fully open in 2020. In the meantime, visitors can relax and enjoy one of mankind’s greatest transformations of waste to beauty.

The Project

Dealing with waste is always a troublesome issue for cities, and unsightly landfills abound. What can a city do to rescue such an unsightly and disturbing site? Tel Aviv may well have an answer for the rest of the world in the form of their new park: Arial Sharon Park. At over 2,000 acres, the park will be larger than Central Park in New York, and is a lesson on recycling and preservation. Several aspects of the park are already open, including a number of walking and biking trails, a picnic area, a small zoo, a recreational pond, and a recycling center. The completed park will be opened in 2020.

A Model of Rehabilitation

The Hiria recycling park, part of the site project, features some of the best technology in recycling and rehabilitation of land space. It’s feature include:

  1. Tire Recycling
  2. Building Material Recycling
  3. Plant Trimming Conversion
  4. Methane Gas Production

Plant trimmings are converted into a ground cover that can replace grass for many Israeli landscaping areas, reducing the demand on the precious commodity of water. Bio-gas production utilizes biological sub-systems to create methane gas while recovering metal and glass for recycling. The gas is sold to a nearby textile factory, and funds are then used to further develop the park.

Flourishing Eco-System

The park features an eye-pleasing garden filled with delights such as water lilies and papyrus, but serves another valuable purpose as well: sewage treatment. The plant bacteria help to break down toxins in water that comes from municipal sewage as well as water seepage from the Hiria landfill mound. This process is so effective that the once toxic water becomes a valuable source of irrigation water.

A Recycled Venue

The park currently boasts a visitor’s center which is constructed of mostly recycled materials, such as tires, bottles, and cans. Future plans are much bigger, and include a 50,000 seat amphitheatre, completing the cycle of turning an eyesore into a place of beauty and entertainment.

The Future

At completion, Arial Sharon Park will be a marvel of modern technology and a shining star in the world of recycling and recovery. It will include an “inner lung:” a beautiful lake surrounded by special plants. This “inner lung’ will be a crowning jewel on Tel Aviv’s accomplishment, and will set it apart as an inspiring example for other cities and communities to model. Although entertainment and recreation usually comes at great cost to the environment, the Arial Sharon Park will be a refreshing difference: an ecological wonder created from a pile of stinking rubbish.

Meg Jones writes for a Hotel in Tel Aviv that offers unique boutique rooms, for your stay near the Old City, Jaffa, Tel-Aviv, and anywhere in the beautiful land of Israel. 

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