14/05/2012

CALIMA

You see that island shaped like a leg of lamb, just to the left of the roundish one in the middle of this picture?
That is Tenerife, almost hidden under the cloud of sand that is sweeping in from Africa. Another calima. The temperature has shot up to 40C, everyone is coughing and sweating, and it's impossible to sleep without a fan going full-blast.
The Canary islands used to get two or three calimas a year - now we get about twenty. Why?
Because the fragile surface of the Sahara Desert is being destroyed. Camels' feet don't break through the crust but the heavy-duty tyres of lorries do. Tourists in 4x4 vehicles add to the damage, as do cross-desert races in off-road vehicles and on powerful motorbikes. Then there is over-cultivation and unauthorized open-cast mining, all of wich are doing irreparable harm.
Does anyone care? I doubt it - profit always comes well before the environment, doesn't it?

5 comments:

  1. What an amazing photo? Do you actually have a copy?

    Calimas have certainly been vicious over the last two years or so.

    My respiratory system always reacts adversley to Calimas.

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  2. So sad. Read today that a tourist there had died in the heat, during a tour.

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  3. These are environmental issues I've never heard about. So much goes on in the world that gets ignored while our media sensationalizes a movie star's latest trip to rehab or a politician's indiscretions. I don't understand it.

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  4. I know what that feels like!
    BTW don't you mean 40C not F?

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