Saturday, January 07, 2006

5 on the verge of vanishing

A feature on the USA Today website picking out five world heritage and environmental areas currently under threat. One of those picked out is the West Bank at Luxor. This problem has been reported on a number of times, but it is always worth throwing out a few reminders:

"The threat: The Theban necropolis harbors among the richest trove of archaeological treasures in the world, including the royal tombs in the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens.
But a "cocktail" of perils prompted World Monuments Watch to place the location on its 100 Most Endangered Sites list for 2006. Among the threats is frequent flash flooding, resulting from climate changes and new roads. And the rising water table caused by the construction of the Aswan Dam 40 years ago has created more arable land and enticed farmers into the archaeological zone, along with illegal tourism-related businesses. Tourism pressures will threaten the sites, particularly given the Egyptian government's plan to attract 10 million visitors to Luxor annually by 2010, a five-fold increase over today's numbers.

The prognosis: A management plan for the Valley of the Kings has been proposed; one for the Valley of the Queens is in the talking stages. But an integrated plan for the entire area needs to be developed, says World Monuments Watch executive director Bonnie Burnham. As it stands, she says, if the government's tourism objectives are realized, "by the end of the decade, this will be an unmanageable situation."

The full article, with the other four areas under threat, can be found at the above web page.

No comments: