How did a thriving natural ‘spa’ on the Dead Sea coast turn into a “ghost town”?

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The Dead Sea, located in the middle of the desert between the borders of Israel and Jordan, has always attracted to its shores those who wanted to bathe in its healthy waters and enjoy its relaxing, hypoallergenic and hydrating properties. Now, this natural ‘spa’ is shrinking at an alarming rate and it could even disappear. Since the 1960s, the sea has already has lost a third of its surface, as collected AFP.

The then oasis located on the west bank of the Dead Sea, called Ein Gedi, where decades ago people relaxed in the pools and bathed in the sea, is now covered with ghastly craters that left the water when it moved about two miles from the old shore. The tourist center has become a “ghost town” with all the infrastructure spoiled by the spread of breaks in the ground and the appearance of craters.

Behind this geological catastrophe is human activity. The natural evaporation of seawater would not have affected this huge body of salt water so much if it weren’t for the intervention of man. The situation has worsened because Israeli and Jordanian farmers use the waters of the Jordan River for irrigation in such a way that the sea currently receives only 10% of the flow that came before.

In addition, chemical companies continue to take advantage of these mineral-rich waters, which entails excessive extraction. Global warming (also the result of human activity) has been added to the shrinking of the sea, whose waters recede about a meter a year.

Gidon Bromberg, the Israeli director of the NGO EcoPeace Middle East, believes that the craters are “nature’s revenge” for “inappropriate actions on the part of man.” “It will be impossible to return to the sea its lost glory”, lamented Bromberg in the interview with AFP. “However, we are committed to stabilizing the situation.”

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