“Hagar”, “Stone”, is a project developed by the Hebron Municipality and the Italian NGO Agenfor Italia, cofinanced by the European Commission within the framework of the ‘Life Third Countries’ Programme.

The Context

The Hebron District holds 66% of the Palestinian marble production. With around 300 quarries and 600 stone cutting companies this is the largest industry in Palestine and the 12th largest of its sector in the world. This high production in a relatively small area creates a series of major environmental problems: air pollution, degradation of the landscape, solid waste dumped on nearby road sides and sludge disposed in open areas where it clogs the soil pores resulting in soil and plant damage. 

Moreover, the marble industry consumes around 750.000 m3 a year of water a year. Within this framework this action contributes to the design and implementation of a sustainable model of a privately managed multi-utility with public shareholders, taking inspiration from the experiences gained in the Italian marble districts regarding industrial water recycling for the transformation of the marble sludge into calcium carbonate and reusable water and the recycling of the stone debris as conglomerate. The Multi-Utility is a technical service necessary for the development of a new, forward-looking environmental policy in the West Bank.

Actions and means involved

The project has the following objectives :

  1. research into following indicators to assess the appropriate dimension the local multi-utility: 
    1. quantity of solid waste (stone debris) produced annually by the marble industry in the district, both from quarries and from marble cutters
    2. analysis of the composition of the marble in the quarries located in the Hebron District, with percentage of calcium carbonate before the production activity
    3. sludge produced annually by the cutting companies
    4. Annual consumption of water by the the marble district in Hebron; 
    5. mapping of the major companies within the district and research into their annual production capacity
    6. mapping of the actual (illegal) dumping areas with monitoring of the related freight-and dumping costs for the private companies
  2. Technical Assistance to the Municipality and to the Joint Councils for Services, Planning & Development ‘North Hebron’ to issue a new local regulation for the dumping of the marble debris and sludge, transfering and adapting experiences from the Italian Districts, particularly Regione del Veneto, within the framework of a ‘name, shame and fame strategy.
  3. Design of an integrated intervention model transfering to Palestine the experience gained in the Verona District for the collection of the stone debris and its reuse as industrial conglomerate, the collection and transformation of sludge in calcium carbonate (99,5%) with granulometry between <10 up to max. <90 micron. and the recycling of industrial water.
  4. Implementation of a methodology, AS PILOT CENTRE, for the recycling of the water contained in the sludge, considering an annual production of around 20.000 tons of sludge equivalent to 12.000 m3 of water.
  5. Vertical and horizontal mainstreaming to raise awarness among the major public and private regional stakeholders in the field of the marble production. International promotional activities about the enviromental implication of the economic growth and the recycling strategies in the marble industry. 

Expected results

The project will have the following results:

  1. Through the research the project will define the exact dimension of the enviromental impact of the marble and stone industry and a mapping of the illegal dumping areas, with all the parameters for the planning of the intervention.
  2. New environmental regulation in the Hebron Municipality for the treatment of marble debris, sludge and water from the industrial cycle; Pilot regulation as part of the Palestinian strategy for the environment.
  3. Network between Palestinian and Italian marble clusters for the solution of common environmental problems through transfer and adaptation of applied models.
  4. Establishment of a methodological model, in form of a Pilot Centre, for the recycling of the industrial wastewater and separation of calcium carbonate. 8 trained human resources capable of managing the CENTRE.
  5. Establishment within the Pilot Centre of a Multi-utility to support the Hebron Municipality in tackling the environmental problems arising from marble production.
  6. Dissemination of validated model through Mamomach, publications & boosting start up of new environmental businesses. Publishing of the Guidelines.

For further information about the project, please contact info@lifehebron.com