State of the environment and development in the Mediterranean

Rising inequality, biodiversity loss, the growing impact of climate change and unrelenting pressure on natural resources could lead to irreversible environmental damage in the Mediterranean basin, according to a new report by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). The State of the Environment and Development in the Mediterranean finds that, unless urgent and resolute action is taken to halt current trends, environmental degradation could have serious and lasting consequences for human health and livelihoods in the region. According to the report, 15 per cent of deaths in the Mediterranean are attributable to preventable environmental factors; in 2016, more than 228,000 people died prematurely from exposure to air pollution. The region – one of the world’s most coveted tourism destinations (360 million arrivals in 2017) and one of its busiest shipping routes – is polluted by an estimated 730 tonnes of plastic waste every day. The presence of more than 1,000 non-indigenous species also poses threats to biodiversity, and the region is warming 20 per cent faster than the global average.

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