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Tuesday, February 7th, 2023

The Dead Sea is literally dying

THE Dead Sea is literally dying and significantly shrinking every year — and it’s all our fault.

The Dead Sea is in the heart of the Syrian-African rift valley, bordered by Jordan, Israel and Palestine, and its surface is 429 metres below sea level, making it the lowest point in the world.

It’s also known as the Salt Sea and is 50km long and up to 15km wide.

It is one of the greatest natural wonders on the planet and one of the saltiest bodies of water.

But in recent decades, the sea has been rapidly deteriorating and shrinking by about a metre every year.

People travel to the Middle East specifically to see the Dead Sea as its high sodium chloride and other salt levels make it easy to float on the surface.

It is called the Dead Sea because the salt levels won’t allow marine life to thrive in the water.

It has 10 times as many salts as the ocean, including magnesium, potassium, calcium chloride and bromide, and it has offered healing properties for thousands of years.

The healing powers of the Dead Sea have been discovered by humans over the years and it is believed the water treats skin, heart and lung conditions.

These magic healing powers however could be the reason for the sea’s demise, with humans filching the natural springs to pry into beauty products and therapeutic treatments.

The Dead Sea is the ‘Lowest Place on Earth’.Source:News Limited

According to environmentalist group EcoPeace Middle East, the construction of hotels and other tourism developments and enhanced mineral and water extractions are also slowly killing the Dead Sea.

Water flowing into the Dead Sea from the Jordan River was also diverted, meaning the sea does not have a constant source of water to keep it full.

“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,” the environmentalist group wrote on its website.

“Construction of dams, storage reservoirs, and pipelines has greatly reduced water inflows into the Dead Sea.

“While much of this water is being used by the Israelis, Jordanians, and Palestinians for basic domestic consumption, most goes towards highly subsidised and inefficient agriculture.”

According to EcoPeace, the Dead Sea has fallen more than 25 metres since the start of the century, when the area around the sea began developing.

About 2000 sinkholes have also been found on the western shores of the Dead Sea, causing surface water to disappear underground.

A view of the Dead Sea from the Kempinski Hotel Ishtar in Jordan. Picture: AAP/Rebekah IsonSource:AAP

EcoPeace said tourists were loving the sea to death and developments would compromise the health of the sea.

“The proposed building of hotels along the central shorelines of the Dead Sea pose a severe threat to the natural and cultural resources of this ecologically sensitive area,” EcoPeace said.

“Additional construction of water parks, shopping malls, and urban facilities for the new influx of employees will all place further pressures on land and water resources.

“Untreated sewage into the Dead Sea from all these surrounding areas are projected to increase as well — possibly from 15 million cubic metres to as much as 35 to 50 cubic metres.”

The environmentalist group is fighting for the Dead Sea to be preserved and firstly wants to limit tourism development.

Last year the Jordanian and Israeli governments signed a deal to replenish the Dead Sea with Red Sea brine. There are also plans to increase the flow from the Jordan River.

CNN reported a canal would be built from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea. Water from the canal will be used to supply water to both countries and will pump 300 million cubic metres back into the Dead Sea annually.