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Monday, October 3, 2011

Eilat, Haifa, Acre beaches ranked highest

Hadera, Hof Hasharon and Borgashov in Tel Aviv ranked lowest in Environmental Protection Ministry-led campaign to rate beach quality.

As this year’s swimming season draws to a close, the three highest performing contenders in the final segment of the Environmental Protection Ministry-led campaign to rate beach quality were Hamaaravi Beach in Eilat, two of the Kiryat Haim beaches in Haifa and Hatmarim Beach in Acre – the last of which was originally the country’s worst offender, according to data released Sunday.

The program, called the Blue-Green Flag campaign, for the second year drew its rankings through representatives from the Environmental, Health and Interior ministries, and deciding factors include quality of water, cleanliness of the beach, parking, handicapped accessibility, beach facilities, sewage connections, public opinion and the considerations of the ministries.

Jumping off an international Blue Flag Program, which has been rating beach quality all over the world since its 1987 launch in Europe, Israel’s campaign unveiled ratings about the beaches every two weeks this summer. Each beach was given a “flag” rating of zero to three flags – three being the best – with a correlating percentage for further detail.

“The ratings in the current swimming season had maximum transparency about the level and quality of the beaches in Israel, which led to a significant upgrading in the service provided at public beaches,” said Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan in a statement.

The final segment’s top scorers all fell within 98 to 100 percent ratings –Hamaaravi Beach in Eilat (100%), two of the Kiryat Haim beaches in Haifa (100%), Hatmarim Beach in Acre (100%), Hatzuk North in Tel Aviv (99%) and Park Achziv Beach in Meta Asher Regional Council (98%).

The worst – Separate Beach and Olga Beach South in Hadera (59% and 68%), Shefayim in Hof Hasharon Regional Council (59%) and Borgashov in Tel Aviv (65%), which has suffered from an influx of air condition runoff throughout the season, according to the ministry.

Hatmarim, now with its triumphantly perfect percentage, began the season as the lowest contender – at 55%.

Beaches that remained consistently strong during the summer months were Hatzuk North in Tel Aviv and Kiryat Haim in Haifa, Gordon in Tel Aviv and Hanachim in Herzliya and Sironit in Netanya and Tel Baruch in Tel Aviv.

On the other hand, beaches that remained reliably poor were Shefayim in Hof Hasharon Regional Council, Hadera Separate Beach, Neurim in Netanya and the Separate (Religious) Beach in Nahariya – all of which maintained marks between 63 and 72%, as well as all of the beaches in Bat Yam.

Gordon Beach, rated positively throughout the season, was far from positive at first.

While Gordon had started the season in mid-May with a 92% rating, two weeks later it was found to be ridden with pollutants, and was still closed even for the ratings at the end of June.