Saturday, March 3, 2012

Can We Prevent the Dead Sea from Dying ?

Today while browsing the Internet I saw an MSN photo feature about the Dead Sea. I have been always fascinated by this natural wonder of the world which got my attention from the Sunday School classes I used to attend in my childhood days.

It is difficult for normal people to imagine that our earth is a wonderful place which has been blessed with such natural wonders.

These are natural wonders because we don't normally find such things in other places. They are rare !

The Dead Sea is a valley bordering Israel and Jordan. It is a low lying area, which is a few hundred meters below the mean sea level.

So all the natural drainage lead to this low lying valley. The small stream called the Biblical Jordan river drains into this sea, which is in all practical purposes a land blocked lake a few square kilometers in area.

The Dead Sea is believed to be lower portions of the Sodom valley which in olden times was full of salt rocks and other minerals. So the natural flow of water in these areas contain a higher levels of dissolved minerals called salts.

There is no escape for the water that gets into this low lying sea, other than through evaporation. Through evaporation, the water escapes, leaving behind the minerals in the remaining water, a process that kept happening for thousands of years making the salt concentration in the sea to keep rising to the present day levels.

The salt content is many times that in the oceans.

That makes the density of the Dead Sea brine much more than normal sea water, making it much more buoyant and germicidal.

So, the Dead Sea water has practically no life. A bath in it would kill the germs on your body ! So it has a medicinal effect. The high buoyancy makes even novices to jump into it without the fear of drowning. They can float and swim in it as they wish- a thing they would not do in other large water bodies!

The Bible is to some extent set in the background of the Dead Sea. So it has a great  relevance with regard to the history and geography of the Bible.

Both Israel and the Jordan extract thousands of tonnes of various salts from the Dead Sea waters and also make millions in show casing the sea to the international community of tourists.

The name Dead Sea [ചാവു കടല്‍ ] creates a sense of awe in the minds of many.

Last year I was planning to have a 'Holy Land Tour' arranged by many tour operators from this country. My main intention was to visit this natural wonder. I had to postpone the plans due to the unrest in Egypt.

I thought of doing that at my convenience in the future.

But now I have a serious doubt. It is reported that this Dead Sea is actually dying now.

The water level is receding by nearly one meter every year. In another 50 years, the Dead Sea would become a history !

Such a thing is  happening because of the Jordan waters which maintained the delicate water balance of the Dead Sea is getting diverted to other places for irrigation.

In the Nineteen Eighties such a land blocked sea in the USSR got dried up and became a desert as a result of ambitious work of the local governments there building large dams for irrigation  on the courses of two rivers that fed water to it.

While we attempt implementing our plans on the nature for some good, some other adverse things happen elsewhere !

My worry is that I may not be in a position to see the Dead Sea, before it is dead for ever !

Can someone do something to prevent it from dying ?

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