Delivering Unwelcome Species to the Mediterranean

1. Galbraith, Kate. "Delivering Unwelcome Species to the Mediterranean." The New York Times. The New York Times, 04 Mar. 2015. Web. 10 Mar. 2015.

2. A straight news article from the New York Times "Delivering Unwelcome Species to the Mediterranean" discusses the implications of the expansion of the Suez Canal. Last year, Egypt had announced plans to build a parallel canal, so it could expedite ship traveling. However, the expansion of this canal allows for invasive species to cross into the Mediterranean, which has a very fragile and sensitive ecosystem. Such invasive species are the venomous jellyfish and the puffer fish. Arguably the worse of the two, the puffer fish can harm both humans and the fish because of the neurotoxins it releases. It would be especially be tough on the native species to survive. According to the Times article, "Once they arrive, successful invasive species often outcompete natives, he said, because they tend to be more efficient at basic functions like obtaining food or reproducing." Essentially, the expansion of the canal will provide for these invasive species with methods of entering the Mediterranean. However, supporters of the canal expansion call the infrastructure project an opportunity for economic growth. In fact, Egypt is rapidly proceeding with the canal expansion, hoping for it to completed by the end of this year.

3. This issue questions the three E's of Sustainability. Though this does have the capacity to hurt the environment, it does allow for economic growth. Egypt's economy has slowly been tapering off since the 1990's, and 20-30% of its population is under the poverty line. In fact, any economic growth within recent years has been very lopsided: The wealthy get wealthier and the poor get poorer. Though I am unsure if this project would directly benefit the poor, it certainly does have the capacity to. The canal has the capacity for sustainable economic growth but at the expense of the environment, making Egypt's push for the canal to be unjust.

4. I think Egypt should take a moment and pause. By expediting the project, they could be creating issues with irreversible effects. According to cited experts, "Marine invasions are forever." I think Egypt should look at the Panama Canal as an example. The Panama has been pretty successful with preventing alien species from crossing over with locks that prevent water transfer. Apart from the Panama, there are many different strategies to prevent invasive species from coming in, such as, a barrier of salty water in combination with locks. Egypt should also carry out an environmental impact assessment and take the time to really think this over, instead of quickly proceeding with the canal. I can understand Egypt's push for the canal, but it's better to be safe than to be sorry in my opinion.

What are your thoughts on Egypt's push for the expansion? Do you think their push for economic growth at the expense of the environment is justified?

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