>> This arid desert in Southern Israel is now an even harsher environment for wildlife. A tsunami of toxic wastewater at the weekend left ecological destruction in its wake. Reuter's Ari Rabinovitch is there.>> Behind me, you can make out some massive, 60 meter high walls that enclose a series of reservoirs, that belong to a nearby phosphate plant.
On Friday, part of one of those walls collapsed letting loose a surge of approximately 100,000 cubic meters of highly acidic waste water. And that waste water just surged through the desert through a river bed, traveling more than 20 kilometers.>> That's a toxic torrent big enough to fill 40 Olympic pools.
It singed all in its path, the fall collecting just a few kilometers from the Dead Sea. The Environment Ministry opening a criminal investigation into the Israel chemicals plant and its owner, Rotem Amfert.>> What remains to be done is a long-term rehabilitation process which require several weeks of intense work.
And the actual rehabilitation could take several years before the desert returns to its original health.>> Israel Chemicals, a publicly traded company with exclusive rights in Israel to mine the Dead Sea, has said it will spare no effort or resources to clean up the riverbed.