Gaza in the Midst of Growing Water Pollution Crisis

March 14, 2018
Wastewater dumping has hurt fishing, caused infection and rarified potable water

Due to a confluence of different circumstances, Gaza currently finds itself mired in a widespread crisis of water pollution. The onslaught of pollution has crippled the fishing industry, caused extensive infection among the populus and has made potable water that much harder to come by.

Most of these problems of pollution stem from an electricity crisis that has plagued the city, which has led to the daily discharge of 110 million liters of raw or poorly treated sewage into the Mediterranean Sea. Such problems originally arose as far back as 2007 when Israel imposed an air, land and sea blockade on the coastal city following a governmental dispute. This forced Gaza to draw most of its water supply from the sea, but it also dispels its waste into the same source that it pulls from.

The shortage of electricity in the city is largely stoked by the densely packed population of two million individuals that call Gaza home. This puts significant strain on aquifers and electricity, inevitably leading to shortages and issues of electricity that currently face the city.

Because of this low quality, parasites were found in roughly half of the water samples taken throughout the year 2014, which has led to widespread infection among the population. The fishing industry has also greatly suffered, as Gaza regularly discharges wastewater into the Mediterranean Sea from which fish is collected, unsurprisingly resulting in poor quality in seafood collected in waters affected by the effluent.

Despite the blockade enacted over a decade ago, Israel still has a vested interest in Gaza in order to avoid potential future conflicts. In keeping with this, Israel agreed in January 2018 to aid in supplying electricity to a sewage cleansing plant in the northern area of the city.

Photo 26492457 © Lftan |
Image courtesy Institute of Chemical Research of Catalonia (ICIQ).