Landscaped landfill

Hiriya Mountain operated as a colossal waste facility for half the 20th century. Now called Ariel Sharon Park, it’s one of Israel’s prized possessions.
Comprised of 565 million cubic feet of garbage and climbing more than 275 feet into the air, what was known as the Hiriya Waste Management Facility was literally a mountain of garbage. Due to its proximity to Ben Gurion International Airport, the landfill was one of the first things visitors would see when flying into Tel Aviv, a sad reminder of poor urban planning and the persistence of the waste we all produce.
Hiriya Mountain was closed in 1998 following a massive garbage slide that alerted city officials to the danger this dump posed to the area outside Tel Aviv. The
mountain of garbage was reinforced, capped and covered with dirt to make the foundation for the new park.
Now open to the public, Ariel Sharon Park is a maze of trails for bikes and hikers, with a gazebo on top and a view of the Tel Aviv area. It includes a green waste facility at the foot of the mountain, and noxious greenhouse gases that once escaped from the mountain are now contained, collected and used to power a textile factory.
Plans to improve the park even further are underway. City officials are building an amphitheater for shows, cafés for park visitors and a drainage system to solve a chronic flooding problem. When these improvements are completed in 2020, the 2,000-acre park will be one of the largest urban parks in the world.
Photo: StateofIsrael
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