The International Youth Exchange Program (Zajel) of the Public Relations Department at An-Najah University concluded the activities of its fifth environmental awareness camp which included 50 students.
The 4 day camp included 45 hours of field trips to Jericho, Tubas, Jenin, Tulkarm, Salfit, Ramallah, Bethlehem and Hebron.
The camp trips aimed to promote eco-tourism, raise environmental awareness and learn about the challenges facing environment in Palestine, pollution, environmental risks and nature and biodiversity in Palestine. The camp included scientific and cultural tours to various Palestinian cities and field trips to a number of sites related to environmental issues.
The field trips tackled issues on clean energy, solar energy institutions, ways to deal with wastewater, ways to develop nature reserves, development of organic farming systems, reasons of environmental pollution, ways to control industrial pollution, diseases caused by environmental pollution and the health risks associated with wastewater use.
In the First day, the students visited Qitaf Dates, which produces organic fertilizers from palm fronds, Jericho Municipality to learn about the challenges that face the water sector and the solid waste and sewage disposal, Jericho Wastewater Treatment Plant, Jericho disposal facility and Jericho Agro-Industrial Park (JAIP) to see its operating projects and future plans.
The participants also went to Paperpal for Paper Industries, which turns books and papers to napkins through treatment process, Palestinian Fertilizer Company to learn about its experience in converting organic waste into natural fertilizers, the Dead Sea to see the Two-Seas Canal Project and salts production and Deir Hijleh to have an idea about mosaic industry and the agricultural project in the monastery.
In the second day, the volunteers visited Tayasir Wastewater Treatment Plant and had a clear idea about water purification and wastewater treatment stages, Makassar Reserve filled with Oak trees as students were introduced to the state of Mediterranean forests in Palestine and the plants of Palestine and Al-Andalus Apiaries to have an overview of beehive products and the importance of bees to preserve ecological balance.
Also, they went to the rainwater harvesting pond in Arraba, the solar power project in Ya’bad to have a look at the system’s components and operating mechanisms that convert sun’s rays into electricity and the Israeli “Gishori Industrial Complex” in Tulkarm to learn about its negative health and environmental impact on the residents and the region’s biodiversity.
In addition, the participants visited Salfit, where Israelis are pouring sewage water into the lands of Wad Al-Mutawi causing water pollution in the valley. They also learned about environmental issues in Salfit. Moreover, they visited the agro-ecological farm in the village of Farkha, which is based on farming without chemicals and produces Methane gas from organic matter, Rawabi City to witness the environmental measures taken into account when establishing the city and the Palestinian Animal League in Ramallah, a society that aims to raise awareness about animal rights, set laws that protect animals from violence and supervise workshops on first aid for animals.
The camp was concluded with a visit to the Old city and the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem, the green areas of the Village of Battir where they observed inland waterways and learned about the agricultural system in the region, the Walled Off Hotel and the Apartheid Wall.
In their trip to Hebron, participating students were given a tour of Hebron Health Directorate to have a better understanding of health and environmental problems that result from liquid leftovers of stone quarries in the region as the government is implementing a treatment plant project to solve this problem. The tours also included a visit to the wastewater treatment plant project and Ash-Sharbati Quarry to learn how they treat leftovers before transport them to the landfill site. The tours were finally concluded in Hebron Leather and Shoe Cluster to learn about chemicals used in leather processing and their disposal methods.