Mediterranean Pollution and Tourism (MEDIT)

          CASE NUMBER:          46 
          CASE MNEMONIC:      MEDIT
          CASE NAME:          Mediterranean Pollution and Tourism

1.        The Issue
     The Mediterranean is used for a growing number of purposes and is also
the recipient of an increasing number of human impacts.  The Mediterranean's
composition is very different from most other bodies of water, in part due to
the limited circulation of these waters with the rest of the world's oceans. 
"The top layers of water are made up of Atlantic waters; the intermediate
layers are made up of waters coming from the West, while the water from the
local sources deposits itself on the bottom layers of the Mediterranean." 
This provides for a very stagnant and polluted body of water which endangers
lives both in and out of the water.  The problem is aggravated by the
thousands of tourists that pour onto the Italian coastal area's each year. 
Excess garbage and waste is dumped directly into the sea or into the nearby
rivers that pollutes the sea in a variety of ways.  This problem is further
aggravated by over-building on the Italian coasts in the hopes of attracting
more tourists to the area.
2.        Description
     Italy has approximately 8,000 kilometers of coastal waters which
represent an important environmental and economic resource for the entire
country.  However, years of negligence and building have transformed these
coastal regions into degraded peripheral area's, built without any kind of
urban or environmental planning.  These factors have come together to create a
catastrophic situation for the Mediterranean Sea, a virtually closed body of
water: "its waters are recycled approximately once every eighty years through
the Strait of Gibraltar."
     Tourism is one of the greater pollutants of the Mediterranean Sea and
according to League for the Environment study, tourism increases 6 to 10
percent annually.  By the end of the century the number of tourists could
increase to 280 million per year.  UNEP (the United Nations Environment
Programme) notes that the greatest dangers of pollution are provoked by the
presence of substances such as "mercury and arsenic, from eutrophication (or
the excessive disposal of nutritious substances which originate from
agricultural, industrial and urban wastes), and also from the bacterial
diseases produced by the microorganisms which are dumped in the sea."  In
Italy the major problem is eutrophication.  "The principle cause of this is
phosphorous, which causes a proliferation of the vegetation and the
microscopic algae.  During the summer the decomposition of these algae results
in a lack of oxygen in the deeper parts of the sea causing many fish to die
and emanating unpleasant odors."  This phenomenon is especially present in
the Adriatic.  Urban waste is a particular problem.  In the coastal areas
of Italy, urban wastes are a problem because of the few and ineffective sewage
treatment plants that exist.  During the summer, these sewage plants are
usually overloaded and malfunction as a result of the large number of tourists
that flood these areas: "80% of the sewage waters of the 120 most important
coastal cities" gets dumped into the Mediterranean without ever have been
     In the last thirty years Italy has seen approximately 50 percent of its
coasts over-built (referred to as "Californication" of the shore) and overrun
by stores, resorts, summer homes and other structures geared towards the
promotion of tourism.  As a result, thousands of miles of sewage and other
urban wastes are dumped into the sea directly without any sort of control
system.  Furthermore, despite of the large sums of money that were spent on
sewage treatment plants, very few systems actually work, for example, "of 300
sewage treatment plants that were built in Sicily only 5 or 6 actually
     Seasonal fluctuations occur in brief periods throughout the year.  "In
these areas the infrastructure for the protection of the environment is always
insufficient with regards to the peaks of the tourists season."  Ironically,
few studies discuss the effects that tourism has on the environment, but on
the effects that the environment, already degraded, has on tourism. 
3.        Related Cases
     Keyword Clusters         
     (1): Trade Product            = TOURism
     (2): Bio-geography            = OCEAN
     (3): Environmental Problem    = Pollution Sea [POLS]
4.        Draft Author:  Alessandra Poropot
B.        LEGAL Clusters
5.        Discourse and Status:  AGReement and INPROGress
     One relevant law passed by the European Community on December 8, 1975
(directive 76/160) was ratified by Italy only after seven years.  Italy began
putting this directive into action two years later, in 1984-5.  The directive
called for the Italian government to take samples of water in every region of
its coastal waters, but it did not indicate how those areas should be chosen. 
In fact, the only rules indicated that the samples be taken no more than two
kilometers apart.  To make matters worse some "areas were chosen near the
delta's of rivers, while other samples were taken from locations far away from
the mouth's of rivers," which, as mentioned above, is the principal source of
marine pollution. 
     Table III-46-1 shows the number of samples that were taken from each
coastal region in Italy.  The samples were used to measure and control marine
pollution in Italian coastal waters, but the lack of a control directive made
this system ineffective.             
          Table III-46-1 
                       Regional Sample Points versus
                  Kilometers of Coastal Land (1984-87)  

Region         1984      1985    1986        1987      Coastal


Liguria        302       301       292       306       316   
Toscana         52       298       292       296       530   
Lazio           62       108       165       177       340 
Campania       238       350       350       352       502 
Basilicata      44        40        43        43        66   
Calabria       223       361       516       545       765 
Puglia         306       364       400       425       760 
Molise          27        27        33        33        35 
Abruzzi         73        90       135       135       134 
Marche         210       210       210       212       166 
Emilia-Romagna  76        76        77        75       112 
Veneto          51        82        82        82       141   
  Giulia        44        44        45        46        94 
Sardegna        70       169       345       523     1,849 
Sicilia        148       246       540       551     1,245 

ITALIA       1,926     2,766     3,525     3,801     7,062 

Source: Ferri, "Mare", 25.

     However, other initiatives have been taken with regards to the
protection of the Mediterranean from sources other than tourism.  For example,
     1975 the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) approved the
     Mediterranean Action Plan (MAP).  In 1985, the same countries
     which had participated in the original MAP (with the exception of
     Albania) came together again to sign the Geneva Declaration, 
     proposed by Greenpeace International for their Campaign to Save
     the Mediterranean. 
     One initiative was put forth in 1987 by the European Investment Bank and
the World Bank.  This approach, called the Environmental Program for the
Mediterranean (EPM), "is meant to address the environmental policy,
institutional, and investment-related needs of the Mediterranean countries." 
The EPM program is intended to stop and reverse the environmental degradation
in the region.  EPM, if launched under its original outline, has an expected
expenditure of "$200 million in five years."
     The Blue Plan is probably the most important step taken to date to stop
the degradation of the Mediterranean.  The Blue Plan was "proposed in 1988 as
part of the reorientation of the Mediterranean Action Plan and is meant to be
active and utilized by anyone who hopes to manage the development of the
Mediterranean basin from now until the year 2025 in an environmentally safe
manner."  It proposes three approaches:
     "1) The search for new models of development in the region based
     on a strong inter-Mediterranean cooperation and a stronger
     North-South solidarity.
     2) The systematic consideration of the effects that developments
     in any sector (of any kind) can have on the environment,
     particularly with regards to the coastal areas. 
     3) The promotion of a better understanding of the relationship
     between the environment and the development of the Mediterranean
6.        Forum and Scope:  EURCOM and REGION
     France has been particularly hard hit as well by Mediterranean pollution
from tourism.  In three Mediterranean regions in France, the population"
doubles every year: the population during the winter is 4,892,000, while
during the summer it increases to 7,935,000, an increase of 62.2 percent";
furthermore, "the capacity of the available camping grounds is dramatically
smaller to that which is actually used, thus many camp sites go unattended by
the authorities."
     The French government is hoping to draw attention away from the coastal
region inland (as it did in the Alps in the FRANCE case).  In the hopes of
curbing this massive exodus to the coasts it proposes the following:
     "[The] French government came up with a plan to try and alternate
     an area which has been developed with one which is left in its
     natural state and protected by the government.  The plan also aims
     at minimizing the congestion created in these coastal area's by
     the tourists by promoting other programs such as amusement parks,
     water parks and national wildlife parks."  
7.        Decision Breadth:  12 (EURCOM members)
8.        Legal Standing:  TREATY
     The Italian decree and the EEC directive gave the responsibility of
overseeing Mediterranean pollution to the Minister of Health, not to the
Minister for the Environment.  
C.        GEOGRAPHIC Clusters
9.        Geographic Locations
     a.   Geographic Domain : EUROPE
     b.   Geographic Site   : Southern Europe [SEUR]
     c.   Geographic Impact : ITALY
10.       Sub-National Factors:  NO
11.       Type of Habitat:  OCEAN
D.        TRADE Clusters
12.       Type of Measure:  Regulatory Standard [REGSTD] 
     Italy, as a result of the EEC directive, has implemented a decree to
regulate the pollution in the Mediterranean (a regulatory standard), but,
unlike France, it has not implemented any regulations to stop that pollution. 
A study conducted by the League for the Environment shows that the tourism
effects in Italy have worsened both in regards to the cities as well as to the
natural environment, specifically those near the water.  
13.       Direct vs. Indirect Impacts:  INDirect
14.       Relation of Measure to Environmental Impact
     a.  Directly Related     : NO 
     b.  Indirectly Related   : YES  TOURism
     c.  Not Related          : NO
     d.  Process Related      : YES  Pollution Sea [POLS]
15.       Trade Product Identification:  TOURism
16.       Economic Data
     The currency balance of tourism trade in Italy (in millions of lire),
reported by ISTAT in 1992 (ISTAT is the national Italian Statistics Bureau),
shows a large tourism inflow for Italy, garnering sizeable foreign exchange
(see Table III-46-2).
                              Table III-46-2
             Italian Revenues, Expenses and Balance in Toruism
                        1988-1990, millions of lira


1988      16,139         7,879          8,260 

1989      16,442         9,291          7,151 

1990      23,654         16,569         7,085 

17.       Impact of Measure on Trade Competitiveness:  LOW
     The Mediterranean is for the most part unattended.  For
this reason "over 50% of the coastal areas" have been
developed into beach resorts which are meant to attract as many
tourists as possible.  Unfortunately, most of these resorts were built
quickly and without the proper infrastructure to withstand the pressures put
upon it by the large number of tourists.
18.       Industry Sector:  TOURism
19.       Exporter and Importer:  MANY and ITALY
E.        ENVIRONMENT Clusters
20.       Environmental Problem Type:  Pollution Sea [POLS]
21.       Name, Type, and Diversity of Species 
     Name:          Many
     Type:          Many
     Diversity:     Sustainable yields of 1,250,000 metric
                    tons per year (Mediterranean and Black
     There are approximately 500 different species, 22 of which are fish, in
the Mediterranean which are at risk due to of pollution.
22.       Impact and Effect:  MEDium and Structure [STRCT]
23.       Urgency and Lifetime:  MEDium and NA
24.       Substitutes:  Eco-tourism [ECOTR]
VI.       OTHER Factors
25.       Culture:  NO
     Is the southern European summer beach migration a cultural phenomena? 
Probably.  The Germans, at least in Italy, are known for their love of camping
and usually travel down to Italy in caravans or campers to set up home for a
month or so.  In fact, there are certain areas in Italy, specifically the
coastal areas of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, where during the summer German is the
language of choice.  In recent years, Slavic, as well as other Eastern
European languages, has been joining the German language, reflecting greater
tourists from these countries.
26.       Trans-Border:  YES
     This is a problem because many countries share the Mediterranean (see LEBANON and BLACKSEA
27.       Rights:  NO
28.       Relevant Literature
"La Protection de l'environment Mediterranean" ("Protection of
     the Mediterranean Environment"), The report of France, Minstere de
     L'Environment: 115-117.
Ferri, Antonio.  "Mare."  Ambiente Italia (1989): 20-35. (Study 
     done for the League for the Environment)
Gardin, P.  "Turismo."  L'Ambiente in Italia: Problemi e 
     Prospettive 1990: 172-180.
Nardi, Aldo.  "Sabaudia: Il Parco Risolver l'Inquinamento dei 
     Laghi."  Deltambiente (May 1990).
Protopapa, Quintino.  "L'Altra Faccia del Turismo." 
     CEEP Ambiente 43 (1993): 36-39.
Squitieri, Gianni.  "Il Mediterraneo: Area di Crisi Ambientale." 
     Ambiente Italia (1990): 445-453.


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