From Der Spiegel, 8/03
The Desecrated Beauty”
Mediterranean: Over 220 million holidaymakers are heading southwards again this year. But some parts of the world’s most popular holiday region are in a pitiful state. Industry and agriculture are flushing toxic residues into the water, the pressure to build new settlements is increasing. Experts describe the situation as a “dramatic emergency”. The waters of the Mediterranean Sea are becoming warmer, saltier and more and more polluted. Air quality is poorer, in summer ozone levels rise above the danger mark. The coast is eroding away, 85 percent of the forests have already vanished. Some 500 species of marine animals are threatened by extinction, including the monk seal, the hawksbill tortoise, and several whale and dolphin species. Sea horses too will have disappeared in a few years’ time. Poor blue Mediterranean! Europe’s paddling pool is the dirtiest sea in the world, containing some 38 milligrams of tar per cubic meter of water.