The Ariel Sharon Park, better known through its former informal name “Hiria” was until recently and for over 40 years non other than the garbage can of the Gush Dan area. It covers an area about half a million square meters and it is located between the airport and the Ayalon Highway.
After two decades the waste grew into a real mountain and created a serious environmental hazard. Attempts were made to cover the waste with soil but the site continued to be a serious hazard, especially for aircraft landing and taking off in the region because of the amount of the birds who constantly fly over the waste. In the 90’s it was decided to cease the discharge of garbage in this manner. By that time the garbage mountain reached a height of 60 meters with approximately 20 million tons of garbage accumulated over the years.
In the early 2000’s the government decided to make the bitter sweet and planned to revolutionize the area through the construction of park which now named after former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
The park covers an area of approximately 8,000 hectares and includes, first and foremost, the new recycling center where today’s garbage is brought, but undergoes a sorting and recycling process with the garbage that can not be recycled transported to the south for burial.
The park also includes a visitor center with a variety of tours, the ancient village of Bnei Brak, the southern Menachem Begin Park, agricultural areas and the agricultural school Mikve Israel.
Some 125,000 visitors come to the park annually.
This is another perfect example of the Israeli style – a lack of long-term planning which causes harm, but then improvisation and initiative that led to one the biggest environmental restoration project in the world.