Land and Resources, Environmental Issues
marine dumping, country experiences, environmental modification, overgrazing, toxic wastes
Water is scarce in Tunisia, and drought is common. Population growth has led to increased demand for farmland. As agricultural production has increased, so have marginal land use and overgrazing, resulting in extensive soil erosion and desertification. Only 3.6 percent (1995) of the country’s total land area is forested, and this figure is shrinking as the country experiences a 0.50 percent (1990-1996) annual rate of deforestation.
Tunisia does more to treat sewage than many of its neighbors, but untreated urban sewage is still a problem, contaminating water supplies and causing eutrophication of the country’s Mediterranean waters. In rural areas, only 52 percent (1990-1998) of the population has access to adequate sanitation. In addition, toxic wastes from industrial processes are not disposed of effectively, presenting human health risks.
Only 0.30 percent (1997) of the country’s land area is protected. Ichkeul National Park, in northern Tunisia, protects a lake and the surrounding wetlands that serve as a resting area for hundreds of thousands of migrating birds, including ducks, geese, and pink flamingos.
The government of Tunisia has ratified international environmental agreements pertaining to biodiversity, climate change, desertification, endangered species, environmental modification, hazardous wastes, marine dumping, ozone layer protection, ship pollution, and wetlands.
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