|Kishon River (Nahal Kishon)|
Kishon River near Haifa in 2010
|- location||Haifa Bay, Mediterranean Sea|
|Length||70 km (43 mi)|
The Kishon River is a 70-km-long perennial stream in Israel. Its source is the Gilboa mountains, and it flows in a west-northwesterly direction through the Jezreel Valley, emptying into the Haifa Bay in the Mediterranean Sea.
Considered[by whom?] the most polluted river in Israel, it has been the subject of controversy regarding the struggle to improve the water quality. The pollution stems in part from daily contamination for over 40 years with mercury, other heavy metals, and organic chemicals by nearby chemical plants.
It is often claimed today that there are more chemicals than water in the river, and that washing one's hands in this river can cause severe chemical burns. On several occasions this river (or rather, patches of petrochemical waste on it) has caught fire from the chemical contaminants. Below Histadrut Bridge (Highway 4[verification needed]), after passing the petrochemical industries zone, the pH was 3 or below for most of the time in 2001.
A 2002 study found the ability of 3 hours' exposure to Kishon River water to induce DNA damage in rainbow-trout liver-cells to be on average threefold that of unpolluted water. Notably the lower Kishon had a markedly elevated genotoxic potential.
A 2000 analysis of the river water revealed chlorinated compounds in discharges from the refineries, the municipal sewage treatment plant and from the Haifa Chemicals fertilizer production plant. Heavy metals were present in the discharges from the Carmel Olefins and Haifa Chemicals plants. The upper river system may also be mixed with genotoxic materials from domestic waste and agricultural runoff that contain pesticides and fertilizers. Potent genotoxins usually found in domestic wastes also include N-nitroso compounds and aromatic amines, which are known to be present in human sanitary outflows as well as genotoxic PAHs found in municipal discharges.
Since 2001, it was discovered that Shayetet 13 veterans had high occurrence of cancer, probably due to training in the polluted Kishon River and Haifa Bay. A commission for investigating the matter did not find statistical evidence that diving in the Kishon caused the cancers. However, despite the commission findings, Minister of Defence, Shaul Mofaz, decided to compensate the divers' families.
- "Cleaning up the Kishon River". Ministry of the Environment (Israel). Retrieved 19 July 2011. "The 70-kilometer long river, which drains an area of 1100 square kilometers, starts in the Gilboa mountains, flows through the Jezreel Valley and empties into the sea at Haifa."
- Andersson, Hilary (2000-09-25). "The Holy Land's poisonous river". BBC News (BBC News Online). Retrieved 2007-08-28
- Below the petrochemical industry zone, see Avishai et al. (2002)
- Fluorinated compounds precipitate into the river sediment: Avishai et al. 2002)
- Avishai, Nanthawan; Rabinowitz, Claudette; Moiseeva, Elisabeth & Rinkevich, Baruch (2002): Genotoxicity of the Kishon River, Israel: the application of an in vitro cellular assay. Mutation Research 518(1): 21–37. doi:10.1016/S1383-5718(02)00069-4 (HTML abstract)
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