An Italian environmental protection organization warns that the Sahara Desert is crossing the Mediterranean and risking the habitats of 6.5 million people that live along the shores.
The Sahara Desert is proving that it knows a thing or two about desertification, spreading now across the Mediterranean Sea and threatening much of Southern Italy and other communities along its shores. The spread of the desert has been observed by Legambiente, an Italian environmental protection organization.
"Desertification isn't limited to Africa," Legambiente Vice President Sebastiano Venneri told ANSA. "Without a serious change of direction in economic and environmental policies, the risk will become concrete and irreversible."
74 million acres of fertile land along the Mediterranean are turning to desert, according to Legambiente. The reasons cited for the desertification were found to be in overexploited land and water resources.
On the islands of Sicily and Sardinia, 11 percent of all arable land showed signs of drying up.
''Semi-arid coastal regions like southern Italy are prone to the effects of desertification due to farmers' dependence on water from underground aquifers instead of rainfall,'' said Legambiente spokesman Giorgio Zampetti, according to the ANSA report.