The famous Dead Sea, a salt lake between Jordan to the east and the occupied West Bank and present-day Israel to the west, has been shrinking at the alarming rate of 1.5 meters a year for the past 40 years. So why is the Dead Sea dying?
On this week’s show, Malihe Razazan talks to Palestinian environmentalist, Muna Dajani, about the Red Sea-Dead Sea Water Conveyance Project, a 10 billion dollar program attempting to revive the Dead Sea, sponsored by the World Bank. She says that 80% of the water from the Jordan River, which normally fills the Dead Sea, is being diverted by Israel for agricultural and domestic use.
The 110-mile pipeline, which will be laid on Jordanian territory, will pump 200 million cubic meters from the Red Sea, half of which will go towards the Dead Sea. The other half will be desalinated and sold by Israel to Jordan and Palestine.
However, the proposed plan is raising concerns among environmentalists – namely, how will mixing water from another sea affect the unique chemical and biological composition of the Dead Sea? The project would supply less than 100m of the 800m cubic meters of water needed each year to stabilize the Dead Sea – and doesn’t address the root causes of the declining water levels, according to Friends of the Earth Middle East.
Later in the program, we will mark the 11th anniversary of the war Iraq with Sinan Antoon reading from his book of poems, Baghdad Blues. He is an Iraqi poet, novelist, scholar, and an associate professor at the Gallatin School of Individualized Study, New York University and editor/cofounder at Jadaliyyah.