One half of all beaches along the Gaza Strip have been polluted to the point of being rendered unfit for swimming, according to the Palestinian environmental authority.Khalid Abu Ghali, a spokesman for the environmental authority, told Ma’an News Agency that over 50 percent of the beaches are not fit for swimming and the agency has contacted concerned parties and lifeguards to identify areas with high levels of contamination.

The main cause of the contamination is the lack of quality sewage treatment. An Israeli blockade on Gaza, imposed since 2006 and backed by Egypt, severely limits imports and exports within the region, resulting in what now constitutes a major economic decline and a crippling humanitarian crisis.

Because of power cuts, waste-water is often pumped directly into the sea, Ma’an reports.

In 2012, a UN report warned that Gaza will no longer be liveable by the year 2020 unless urgent action is taken to improve water, power, health, and education for residents.

See related IMEMC link below.