Israel - Environment
As of 2000, water pollution and adequate water supply are major environmental issues in Israel. Industrial and agricultural chemicals threaten the nation's already depleted water supply. Israel has only 1.9 cu km of renewable water resources with 64% used for farming activity and 7% used for industrial purposes. About 80% of the people living in rural areas have pure water. Air pollution from industrial sources, oil facilities, and vehicles is another significant environmental problem. In 1996, Israel's industrial carbon dioxide emissions totaled 52.3 million metric tons.
Reforestation efforts, especially since 1948, have helped to conserve the country's water resources and prevent soil erosion. Israel has reclaimed much of the Negev for agricultural purposes by means of large irrigation projects, thereby stopping the desertification process that had been depleting the land for nearly 2,000 years. Principal environmental responsibility is vested in the Environmental Protection Service of the Ministry of the Interior. In 2001, 13 mammal species and 8 bird species were endangered. Nineteen species of plants were threatened with extinction. Endangered species included the northern bald ibis, South Arabian leopard, Saudi Arabian dorcas gazelle, and three species of sea turtles. The Mediterranean monk seal, cheetah, Barbary sheep, and Persian fallow deer became extinct in the 1980s. The Israel painted frog and Syrian wild ass have also become extinct.