Environmental organization EcoPeace Middle East said the sea levels of the Dead Sea drop more than 3 feet every year, which means that the great salt lake could soon disappear. Sting nestled between Israel, Jordan, and Palestine is at risk mainly due to increased mineral extraction operations and limited water intake.
Excessive tourism has also had an adverse impact of the Dead Sea. New hotels and attraction block off the small inflow sources the lake has and sewage has replaced lost water, according to a report by the Christian Science Monitor. EcoPeace Middle East said the water resources have been threatened by the recent construction of urban facilities, shopping malls, and water parks, according to a report by Weather.com.
The environmental group told reporters that limiting tourism development and making efforts for smarter water management could really help preserve the lake.
Limiting mineral extraction could also play a significant role in this process. Cosmetic companies have been increasingly extracting the lake’s salty water for use in therapeutic and cosmetic products for hair and skincare, which have become very popular in the region. The lake’s relative salinity is increased by lost water, a direct consequence of the area’s typical dry-heat.
“Far and away the biggest cause of the rapid disappearance of the Dead Sea is the lack of water coming into it from its traditional sources – the Jordan River,” EcoPeace Middle East said in a statement, as quoted by the Christian Science Monitor. “While much of this water is being used by the Israelis, Jordanians, and Palestinians for basic domestic consumption, most goes towards highly subsidized and inefficient agriculture.”
One of the world’s oldest natural attractions
The Dead Sea is about 1,400 feet below sea level. That’s the lowest point on Earth. One of the world’s oldest natural attractions, it has hypersaline waters known for their “healing powers.” In fact, the lake became one of the first spa resorts on the planet under the Roman King Herod I.
Because the Dead Sea’s water has 34 percent of salinity, it is impossible for most marine life to survive there. However, EcoPeace said there is unique wildlife around the lake, including leopards, ibex, and hyrax, which are endangered species, according to the report by the Christian Science Monitor.
The environmentalist group noted the wetlands around the Dead Sea provide important breeding sites for a large number of migratory birds which cross between Europe and Africa every year.
EcoPeace recently took advantage of the lake’s high density by inviting 25 swimmers from all over the world as part of its efforts to raise awareness about the importance of preserving the lake, as a spokesperson told the Associated Press. The water is attractive to swimmers because it allows them to float with ease. The group helped organize the first ever swim challenge and those invited swam seven hours through the waters of the Dead Sea.
Source: Christian Science Monitor