Saturday, November 26, 2011

Dead Sea turning into massive environmental disaster

Here at the lowest place on earth, in 75 degree sunshine, Olga Alexarkin is sitting on a deckchair in bathing suit and gazing eastwards across the radiantly blue, imponderably deep, Dead Sea towards the Jordanian cliffs 11 miles away.

In a moment she will plunge into the little waves thrown up by the desert breeze, and bob effortlessly on her back supported by the planet's most buoyant water, so saturated with salt that it will sting scratches she never knew she had.

But first, she talks about why she has come here once a month since emigrating to Israel in 1998; for the view, little changed since pre-historic times, for the air, with its abnormally low pollen and high oxygen count; for the unique health giving minerals of the sea itself, and for the steep walks through the acacia trees and herds of agile ibex along the nearby David spring. This is simply, she sighs, "the best place in the world".

The government of Israel is hoping enough people will agree with Mrs Alexarkin to have voted for the Dead Sea to be one of the "New 7 Wonders of Nature" when the results of an international contest run by a website of the same name are announced this morning. more