Ministry of Health and Ministry of Environmental Affairs officials have warned of the health hazard to riders posed on bus platforms in the Jerusalem Central Bus Station, where bus idle with engines running in a closed area. The environmental reality compels the ministries to recommend to passengers to avoid waiting in those areas or spending more time on the platform than absolutely necessary.
On Tuesday, 4 Cheshvan 5774 Jerusalem Magistrate Court Justice Avraham Tannenbaum gave a boost to the ministries’ position, instructing the bus station to place personnel at the exits to the platform during bus station operating hours to warn passengers of the health hazard. These employees would instruct commuters to exit the station and enter the bus immediately and not to stand and wait outside for the bus’ arrival.
Attorney Noam Zucker, representing the plaintiffs, explained the court’s ruling shows just how extreme the situation is and how dangerous the health hazard to riders is. Tests over recent months of air quality in the platform area revealed pollution levels far exceeding any acceptable level. Zucker stresses this is not just a matter of the air being uncomfortable or unpleasant, but the air in the platform area contains pollutants three to four times the maximum acceptable levels.
He adds the contaminants contained in the air have been documented by the World Health Organization as contributory factors to lung disease and even cancer. Zucker concludes the alarming situation is especially worrisome for persons with asthma, other chronic lung ailments, cardiac conditions and the elderly, all in a category of increased susceptibility to an acute pulmonary episode.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)