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Occupied Palestinian Territory
Environment and health
In the past few years there has been a lot of urban expansion at the expense of the best agricultural lands and in Jenin, Tulkarm, Qalqilya and Gaza Strip in particular urban expansion is taking a lot of irrigated land. There are many irrigation wells in these areas which are either pumping less than their quotas or not pumping at all as a result of land losses for urban areas. Instead of expanding cities towards lands not suitable for agriculture in the mountains of Tulkarm, Jenin and Qalqilya, municipalities are expanding their boundaries towards the fertile plains which are used for irrigated agriculture.
Improper farming practices such as the excessive use of fertilizers and pesticides are negatively affecting land and water resources. Excessive fertilization in greenhouses with improper and insufficient leaching is increasing soil salinities to levels unsuitable for vegetable production. Leaching of fertilizers and pesticides to groundwater is threatening the water quality for both domestic and agricultural sectors.
Treated wastewater is becoming a highly important source of irrigation water in the Near East region. Utilizing wastewater for reuse in agriculture requires building wastewater collection and treatment systems. Up to now, the collection infrastructure has been under-designed and only a few cities have such an infrastructure. Wastewater treatment plants are not treating wastewater to levels which allow its reuse. Significant investment is needed to construct wastewater collection and treatment systems in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.