Red Corner: Polluted Albania

Having recently returned from a trip to Albania, I was disappointed to run across a rather frank assessment of the pollution problems which currently plague the developing nation and negatively effect its tourist trade.

Transitions Online, which covers problems faced by nations emerging from communism, reports that some of Albania’s most popular beaches are horribly contaminated and that “pollution in the coastal waters is between two and six times the levels allowed by the World Health Organization.” Even the guidebook I traveled with warned about rashes which afflict swimmers at some of the beaches.

The air isn’t much better. The Albanian Institute of Nuclear Physics discovered that Tirana’s air is laced with toxic metals from the regular burning of trash and solid waste.

It is certainly a sad report to read. I found Albania to be extraordinarily blessed with beautiful beaches and mountains when I visited. Such natural resources, if treated properly, will be the source of a tourist boom one day in the future which will bring with it much needed cash and employment.

In the meantime, rash-causing ocean swims, aren’t really helping the cause.