Dead Sea, Jordan
On Thursday, 13th February, 2014 Mrs. Susanne Eberstein, the Swedish Deputy Speaker of Parliament along with Swedish parliamentarians visited the Mouth of the Jordan River; the point where the Jordan River meets the Dead Sea. The visit that was organized by Friends of the Earth Middle East “FoEME” included extensive explanations about the current status of the Jordan River and the Dead Sea. The River, according to Mr., Munqeth Mehyar Chairperson and Jordanian Director of FoEME, is presently a degraded system due to severe flow reduction and water quality decline. The river lost over 98% of its historic flow because it is diverted by Israel, Syria, and Jordan for domestic and agricultural use. The remaining flow consists of sewage, fish pond waters, agricultural run-off diverted into the LJR from salt springs around the Sea of Galilee. The River lost over 50% of its biodiversity due to loss of fast flow habitats, floods, and high salinity of the water.
Abuse of the River’s waters led to the degradation of the Dead Sea as well affirms Ms., Yana Abu Taleb, FoEMEs Jordanian Assistant Director. The Dead Sea has already lost over 1/3 of its surface area and its level has fallen over 25 meters since development of the region started early this century. She added that the depth of the sea is continuing to drop by over 1 meter per year with an expected shrinking shoreline of 430 meters by the year 2020 compared to its present 411 meters. Water inflow levels have already been reduced to just 5% of its original volume with annual surface inflows in the future predicted to only further decrease. The deterioration in the Sea level will not only cause drying up of micro-eco-systems leading to land-subsidence known as “sink holes” but will also reflect negatively on tourism; a major income generator she added.
Mr., Nader Alkhatib; FoEMEs Palestinian Director elaborated on the organizations efforts to rehabilitate the Jordan River and to save the Dead Sea that vary from awareness campaigns to lobbying governments to pass resolution intended to end abusing the River’s waters. After the thorough explanations, Mrs., Eberston commended the organizations diligent efforts and its attempts to garner trilateral cooperation between the governments of Jordan, Palestine, and Israel to solve pending environmental issues. The visitors then concluded the visit with a lunch on the shoreline of the Dead Sea.
This post is contributed by Samar M. Salma, FoEMEs Jordanian Media Officer, PR, and Projects Coordinator.