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CALANQUES IN TROUBLED WATERS

CALANQUES IN TROUBLED WATERS | France 2 | Envoyé Spécial

It is one of the most beautiful areas of the Mediterranean. 8,500 hectares of hillside, scrubland and creeks with crystal clear waters. The Calanques, which stretch from Martigues to La Ciotat, were granted National Park status four years ago. To discover the finest calanques, you need to walk for hours, to climb, to follow footpaths. Some are only accessible by boat. An exceptional setting that draws more than 2 million visitors every year. But the clear waters of the calanques have been concealing more than a century of regular attack from human pollution. A plant has just received permission to continue dumping its waste water directly into the sea. Toxic waste that has been poisoning the seabed for more than 50 years already.  Fishing grounds have disappeared and some of the beaches where the tourists spread their towels are contaminated with lead and arsenic.         The culprits are former metal plants now abandoned. Another source of pollution of which the visitors are unaware probably comes from the pipes of a number of purification plants that pour their toxic waters into the sea. We present an investigation into one of the most natural, but perhaps one of the most polluted, areas of the Mediterranean.