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'Beam of Light' is ray of hope for Israeli-Jordanian cooperation
Date:11/8/2007

Jerusalem, Nov. 8, 2007 An Israeli-Jordanian-U.S. cooperative project aimed at measuring air quality in the area between the neighboring southern cities of Aqaba in Jordan and Eilat in Israel has been launched by scientists from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem together with scientists from the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Administration (ASEZA) and the Desert Research Institute of Reno, Nevada, in the US.

The one-month, intensive, transboundary regional air quality research study began earlier this month, with the Israeli team operating a mobile laboratory located north of Eilat, and the Jordanian researchers performing continuous measurements of air quality in Aqaba.

As part of the experiment, the Hebrew University team shines a powerful light projected from the Israeli side to the Jordanian side, the returning rays of which are then submitted to spectral analysis. This analysis enables the group to determine the composition of the air over the Red Sea that lies between the two measuring sites. The scientists have nicknamed the study Beam of Light.

According to Hebrew University Prof. Menachem Luria, the head of the Israeli team, the overall aim of the project -- which is supported with American funds through the US AID MERC (Middle East Regional Cooperative) framework -- is to develop cooperative efforts to improve air quality in the region and reduce transboundary pollution transport. This can be achieved through joint scientific efforts and the generation of public awareness, he said.

Dr. Bilal Al Bashir, deputy chief commissioner for the environment of the Jordanian ASEZA, said that good air quality is an essential factor for the continued success of the tourism-driven economic basis of the region. All parties agree that the outcome of this study will serve as a basis for government officials to address air quality issues as a central part of the planning process in this rapidly developing area.

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Contact: Jerry Barach
jerryb@savion.huji.ac.il
972-258-82904
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Source:Eurekalert

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