Apart from the nine-mile-wide Strait of Gibraltar, the Mediterranean is landlocked, virtually unable to cleanse itself. It takes 80 years for the water to be renewed, far too slow a process to cope with the remorseless rush of pollution.

For centuries, the people of the Mediterranean have used the sea for their wastes. Weak coastal currents keep sewage and industrial waste close to the shore and gently spin floating oil and tar towards the beaches. And the sea’s feeble currents can do little to help remove them. Vast areas of the shallows of the Mediterranean – the beaches  are awash with bacteria and it doesn’t take long for these to reach people.

An even greater danger is involved in the seafood dishes that add so much pleasure to holiday menus. Shellfish are prime carriers of many of the most vicious diseases of the area. They often grow amid  pollution. And even if they don’t, they are infected by the popular practice of ‘freshening them up’ – throwing filthy water over them in markets.



Mark the best choice.

1. The Mediterranean cannot cleanse itself as .

a) there is only one strait linking it to the ocean b) it has been used for waste disposal for centuries

c) the Strait of Gibraltar is only nine miles wide d) the land around it is densely populated


2. Coastal currents in the Mediterranean .

a) are too weak to remove the wastes b) carry oil and tar away from the beaches

c) flow too close to the shore d) cause the wastes to float offshore


3. Line 10, ‘these’ refers to . •

a) bacteria b) the beaches c) vast areas d) the shallows


4. Shellfish that grow in unpolluted areas .

a) add pleasure to holiday menus b )are much safer than those’growing in polluted seas

c) may still carry disease d) have to be kept fresh by throwing filthy water over them

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *