Just where Route 4 turns into Route 1 from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, right at the juncture rests a 46-year-old mountain of garbage. Last Sunday night, that garbage became something of a power plant. The switch was flicked on at the dump, now Sharon Park, and lights illuminated the night. But these were not just ordinary lights. These were garbage-powered.
Sharon Park, a gargantuan 8,000-dunam space of urban reclamation ranking among the biggest worldwide, used to be the site of the Hiriya garbage dump. Hiriya was impressive, be it in a gross, festering sense, in that it featured a 200-foot high mountain of trash at a hefty 565 million cubic feet of decomposing wretch rumbling from 46 years of dumping underneath. The dumping stopped in 1998, and 9 years later in 2007, they finally decided what to do with it.
Now the wretch, after being cleaned of hazardous material, is powering the park’s very own electrical grid. Somebody must have figured if it smells that bad, it’s got to be powerful enough to do SOMETHING useful.
But here’s more: The body of the park itself is being built with its very own trash. Discarded building materials are being converted into sidewalks, pathways, and buildings, saving the government tens of millions of shekels in disposal costs.
The park is scheduled to be completed around 2015-2020, though hiking and bike paths are already available, as well as a zoo and a recycling museum.