(120424) -- JERUSALEM, April 24, 2012 (Xinhua) -- Tourists visit a reusing and recycling exhibition at Hiriya, Israel, on April 12, 2012. Hiriya, southeast of Tel Aviv, was a former waste dump since 1952. For a long period of time, 25 million tons of waste was piled up to a height of 80 meters and grew so huge that birds attracted here became a danger to airplanes taking off and landing at Ben Gurion Airport. It was shut down in 1998 due to the growing public awareness of environmental pollution, underground water contamination and the spread of noxious gas. In 2005, Israeli government under former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon decided to shift Hiriya, the mountain and its surrounding land, into a public park to improve the environment here. Following this decision, a government corporation was established to be in charge of the park's planning and development. The park was named Ariel Sharon Park in 2007 as a sign of appreciation for his unqualified support for the establishment of the park and its goals. The planner Peter Latz has invented a technique to protect future flowers and fruits from contaminants: the landscape is being covered with a bioplastic layer that blocks methane, topped with layers of gravel and a meter of clean soil. Bigger than Central Park in New York, the Ariel Sharon Park is currently open in a limited format, and will be opened in stages until its completion in 2020. The mega 2,000 acre park will be a green lung in the center of Israel's densely populated Coastal Plain serving not only the residents of Tel Aviv, but also the many neighboring cities. Hiriya currently houses the largest waste transfer station in Israel. A recycling facility operated by the Israeli company ArrowEcology has introduced a new technology known as ArrowBio that separates recyclable materials using water technology. Eighty percent of the waste that enters the system is reused, while only 20 percent ends up in the landfill. Recycling plants have been working there ever
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