Mass Tourism Threatens Venice

 

Venice, one of the world’s most beautiful cities, is facing environmental disaster . Italia Nostra, an environmental organization says that Venice can handle about 30,000 tourists every day, far less than the 60,000 that come to the lagoon  city now. It suggests that Venice attract fewer, but richer tourists instead aiming at all kinds of tourists.

Venice is threatened  by rising sea levels  and Mediterranean  storms. In the next hundred years the sea level of Venice’s lagoon is expected to rise  by 20 inches (about 50 cm).  Old buildings, churches and cultural sites are in danger of collapsing .

 

Every year autumn and winter storms flood  much of the city, especially  places where tourists like to go, like Piazza San Marco, the central square of Venice. The situation has become worse because of the giant cruise ships  that sail into the city. Waves push up mud  and sand which erode wooden piles on which the buildings stand.

The Italian government has started building a flood barrier  that is supposed  to keep out the water from the Adriatic Sea. By 2014 three giant steel gates will control the flow of water to and from the lagoon. Environmentalists fear that such a barrier will  affect  the natural life of the lagoon which has a mixture of salt and freshwater . Venice’s lagoon is a home of plants that release additional  oxygen  into the sea. Without such plants, water coming from the Adriatic Sea would make the lagoon saltier.

 

New construction projects pose another threat to Venice. The government is planning an underwater  subway connecting Venice with a new town on the mainland . Environmentalists say this would be a  disaster from which Venice would never recover .

 

Satellite Map of the Venice Lagoon

Satellite Map of the Venice Lagoon

 

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Words

  • affect     = to have an effect on, influence
  • aim   = want to have, reach for
  • attract   = catch the attention of; pull towards
  • collapse   = break down, fall apart
  • cruise ship =   large ship that people have holidays on
  • disaster   = catastrophe, tragedy
  • environment   = the world around us
  • environmentalist   = a person who wants to protect the nature around us
  • erode   = if material is slowly destroyed
  • especially   = above all
  • face   = look at
  • flood   = when a place is covered with water from the sea or a river
  • flood barrier   = an object that protects sea water from coming in
  • flow   = stream, course of water
  •   freshwater   = water from rivers and lakes which is not salty
  • gate   = big door
  • giant   = very big
  • handle   = deal with, accept
  • lagoon   = a lake of sea water that is partly cut off from the ocean
  • mainland   = the land that makes up most of the country; not the islands
  • Mediterranean   = area between Europe and Africa
  • mud   = soft wet earth
  • oxygen   = a gas that has no colour and that that we need to breathe
  • pile   = post used to carry something that is heavy
  • pose   = create
  • recover   = get better
  • release   = let free
  • rise   = go up
  • sea level   = the average height of the sea; used for measuring the height of mountains, cities etc...
  • square   = open place
  • subway   = underground railroad
  • suppose   = expect to
  • threaten   = to be in danger