The Dead Sea is known for having salty water and it is found in three regions. They include; the West bank, Israel and Jordan. It is known for attracting millions of tourists from all over the world. This is mostly because of its religious significance upheld by Christians. Unfortunately the Dead Sea is facing extinction, and this is a serious matter. The water levels are on a daily basis declining and something needs to be done. Otherwise, there is a possibility of it being literary dead (Mitchell, 2004, 89).
This paper seeks to give an analysis on the Dead Sea, which is on the verge of extinction. The environmental phenomenon needs to be known as well as its causes.
Analysis of the Dead Sea Environmental Catastrophe
The changes taking place at the Dead Sea are being noticed now, when it is almost too late to do anything, concerning the matter. The level of water at the sea has reduced to great lengths. If one visits the Dead Sea, they will notice that the shoreline has declined .The Dead Sea is famous all over the world, and is known for its ecological as well as cultural significance. The sea has many problems and it is described as dying (Mitchell, 2004, 89). Research has found out that almost 80feet of water has reduced in approximately 50years. The size of the sea has also been affected, in that its size is less than a third of what it used to be. The reason why this is occurring is because River Jordan is drying up. There are more problems, which will come about, due to this matter. Nothing can be done to save the Dead Sea according to scientists, and the levels will drop by at least 60 feet (Yehouda, 2006, 56).
The decline in sea levels has been taking place since the 1970’s, as during this time, the levels dropped on a daily basis. It is estimated that each year, three feet of the Dead Sea water disappeared. As a result, a domino has been created, which is greatly affecting Israel. Wildlife as well as plant life is being affected, since they are found near the Dead Sea shore line. There is an annual migration for birds that total 500 million, and the Dead Sea is important to them. The reason is that this is where they rest after traveling far distances to reach Africa from Europe. Israel’s infrastructure is being affected by the Dead Sea crisis, as most buildings and roads are bound to collapse (Anderson, 2011, 1). This is due to the sinkholes, which exist and have been caused by mud flats. People’s lives are in danger if the infrastructure is to collapse. The Israel government has responded to these problems by barricading this part of the region. Jordan shares a border with Israel and is also affected by this problem.
As the years progress, the sinkholes are expected to increase in size, and the consequences will be disastrous. Stream erosion will be the cause of the destruction of infrastructure. The eco- system will be affected due to the low water levels, according to the person in charge of Israel’s environmental policy. The future of the Dead Sea is already causing a lot of problems. According to experts of the Dead Sea, human activities are the main cause of the problems facing the Dead Sea (Anderson, 2011, 1). This is because water from the sea is being diverted and being used for agriculture as well as for drinking by human beings. The Dead Sea has salty water and is the largest of that kind in the world. Originally the water level above sea was 1371 feet and this is no more.
Also, the rate of evaporation is extremely high and thus the fast rate of water evaporation from the sea. Industries in Jordan and Israel are involved in chemical extraction, which leads to the loss of gallons of water, as much as 180 million. This means that every year, the water, which is full of minerals, loses about 66 billion gallons. It is believed that the many uses of the Dead Sea water leads to shortage of water (Anderson, 2011, 1). Human beings living in Israeli regions such as Negev and Tel Aviv believe that they cannot live without water. Unfortunately, the water they are consuming is coming from the Dead Sea.
Attempts to revive the Dead Sea are not yielding any results, according to experts from Israel. For example, there were attempts to pump the Mediterranean water using the canal known as Med-Dead. The composition of the Dead Sea can be altered if it mixed with water from the sea. Certain biological and chemical reactions will take place and the Dead Sea’s color will be affected. The color will become either red or white, from its original color blue. The other risk factor, which exists, is that the reactions may cause the production of gases which are poisonous. According to research for the around 150 years the levels will decline further to three feet annually. It will become drastic to the point whereby, the water will be extremely saturated. This means that the Dead Sea will reduce to about 434 feet than it currently is (Anderson, 2011, 1).
The Dead Sea is shared by the West bank, Jordan and Israel and its length is about 250 miles. There is a need to know the reason behind the drying up of the Dead Sea. The Sea of Galilee is the origin of the loss of the Dead Sea water. It is found on the bottom part of River Jordan. On a daily basis, raw sewage is drained about 720000 gallons approximately. It an extremely painful site to see what the Dead Sea has become (Anderson, 2011, 1) .It is common to see litter all over the shore line, white foam, plastic, among other items. The air is filled with the stench of human waste and there are warning signs almost everywhere. People are being warned against drinking the water, which is contaminated.
Sewage flows freely from River Jordan to the Dead Sea and there will never be clean water. The ‘river is of importance to Christians as it where Jesus Christ’s baptism took place. The Dead Sea obtains it water from the river. Now that the river has raw sewage, the Dead Sea is contaminated. As much as one pint three billion cubic meters flows to the Dead Sea annually. Only a quarter of the Dead Sea’s water is obtained from other sources. The Dead Sea crisis is affecting everything in its environ. Wildlife and plants do not obtain the needed nourishment as there is no fresh water (Anderson, 2011, 1). The underground salt deposits are engulfing the freshwater thus causing the formation of sinkholes. In the latest news a trailer parks and a camp for the military has been closed down due to this matter.
One of the largest parks in Israel is being affected by changes in the ecosystem, brought about by the decline of water in the Dead Sea. The park known as Ein Gedi Reserve, houses many vital animal and plant life biodiversity. The issue facing River Jordan is the one responsible for the receding of the Dead Sea (Abelson, 2006, 250). It is simply a case whereby, nature is competing with human beings. According to a man who has lived in the Dead Sea region for a long time, there were 6000 inhabitants in the year 1935. Right now, the figure has increased and there are 6 million inhabitants. In the region of Masada, which is in the south of the Dead Sea, water is drained by large pumps. The water is highly sought after, because it is believed to have many essential minerals. Hotels in the region are involved in actions to ensure the Dead Sea does not completely dry out. Walls are being built to ensure that it is possible to control the water levels. Many claims exist regarding the real cause of the Dead Sea decline of water levels. Some believe that it is due to the evaporation ponds, while to others, it is as a result of River Jordan. A company known as Dead Sea Works is involved in projects, which will benefit the Dead Sea. Recently, it invested $70 million, in order to ensure the regions ecological standards are raised (Anderson, 2011, 1).
In conclusion, the Dead Sea is facing a major catastrophe, and a solution needs to be found urgently. The people who live in the Dead Sea region do not know that they are the reason behind the Dead Sea problem. It seems that in the next few decades, the Dead Sea will no longer exist, as its water levels are declining at a high rate. More research should be done to ensure that the Dead Sea is saved from extinction.
Abelson, M. et al. “Evolution of the Dead Sea Sinkholes”, in New Frontiers in Dead Sea Pale environmental Research, Geological Society of America, 401, (2006) :241–253.
Mitchell, Allana. Dancing at the Dead Sea: Tracking the World’s Environmental Hotspots. New York: Key Porter Books. 2004. Print.
Anderson, John. For Dead Sea, a Slow and Seemingly Inexorable Death. The Washington Post. Web. 19 May 2005. Retrieved 16 August 2011 from http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/05/18/AR2005051802400.html
Yehouda, Enzel. New Frontiers in Dead Sea Pale environmental Research, New York: Geological Society of America, 2006.Print.
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