Ariel Sharon Park is one of the largest environmental rehabilitation projects in the world. It is unique in that this plot of land, part of which was polluted and neglected for decades, has been turned into a metropolitan park. The park sprawls over some 1975 acres and serves as an open green urban space in Israel’s most densely populated area, bordering on the Tel Aviv-Yafo, Ramat Gan, Holon, Azor and Or Yehuda municipalities. The rehabilitated Hiriya garbage dump lies at the center of the park.
From the time the State of Israel was established in 1948 to 1998, the Hiriya garbage dump served as the main dumping site for the entire Dan Region. Over the years, an actual mountain of garbage was formed, as trash was scattered and covered with dirt time and time again. For many years, the “national garbage mountain” was a stark symbol of an environmental, health and safety hazard, until the rehabilitation process began in the early 2000’s. The mountain, which covers an area of approximately 110 acres and is some 70 meters high, contains 16 million cubic meters of garbage – 25 times the space of the Azrieli Towers in Tel Aviv!
In 2005, after years of public efforts, the Israeli government led by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon decided to preserve the site as a “green lung”. In order to implement this vision a state-owned enterprise called The Ariel Sharon Park Company was established. The company was tasked with planning, building, maintaining and managing the park and operates under the authority of the Ministry of Environmental Protection. The Ariel Sharon Park is a core element in the Ministry of Environmental Protection’s national plan to establish a continuum of metropolitan parks in Israel.
The master plan for the park was entrusted to a planning team led by international landscape architect Prof. Peter Latz, along with professionals from various fields: architects, engineers, hydrologists and ecologists. The plan included the rehabilitation and development of the garbage mountain, the rehabilitation of rivers and also the integration of a drainage solution for recurring flooding problems in the Dan Region’s Ayalon River.
The park is home to a rich biological diversity including various reptile, mammal and amphibian species, as well as over 200 species of birds that use the park as a stop along their migration route. The Ariel Sharon Park serves as an ecological corridor for animals and is home to many habitats for wildlife and plants.
The park is open to the public and offers a wide range of leisure and recreation, urban nature, educational and cultural activities.