NEWS

Mediterranean is ‘becoming a dumpsite’

Valletta, Malta – The Mediterranean Sea, which covers an area of less than 1 percent of the world’s oceans but supports a third of marine transport, will not be able to endure much more of the chemicals and oil flowing into it every day, environmental experts warned at a United Nations summit in Malta last week. The damage is largely hidden, but evidence can be seen in the toxic infection and death of fish and other marine life. The impact on human health is unclear but, most experts agree, certainly underestimated. New biological treatment centers are ensuring that a larger proportion of the waste flowing into the Mediterranean has had toxic substances removed. But for there to be a real change, major alterations are needed in the priorities of regional governments and the operation of industry and marine transport. The irony is that this pollution overload is occurring against the backdrop of dwindling resources, which makes the Mediterranean’s waters more precious than ever. For countries like Malta, which uses seawater to distill 80 percent of its drinking water, curbing marine pollution is a crucial affair. But UN agency experts are warning that by the time other countries in the region face water shortages in the coming decades, and need to turn to seawater as alternative source, the Mediterranean may be too polluted to be a viable option. So it is imperative that measures to combat pollution are implemented from now.