Das Europ. Mittelmeer.
The largest inland sea; between Europe and Africa and Asia; Also called: Mediterranean Sea.
Inland sea separating Europe from N Africa, with Asia to the E; extreme length 3,700 km/2,300 mi; area 2,966,000 sq km/1,145,000 sq mi. It is linked to the Atlantic Ocean (at the Strait of Gibraltar), Red Sea, and Indian Ocean (by the Suez Canal), Black Sea (at the Dardanelles and Sea of Marmara). The main subdivisions are the Adriatic, Aegean, Ionian, and Tyrrhenian seas. It is highly polluted.
The Mediterranean is almost tideless, and is saltier and warmer than the Atlantic; shallows from Sicily to Cape Bon (Africa) divide it into an east and a west basin. Dense salt water forms a permanent deep current out into the Atlantic.
The Mediterranean is severely endangered by human and industrial waste pollution; 130 million people live along the coast and another 100 million visit each summer. More than 500 million metric tons of sewage is discharged into the Mediterranean without treatment, and it is regularly crossed by oil tankers.
The Barcelona Convention 1976 to clean up the Mediterranean was signed by 17 countries and led to a ban on dumping of mercury, cadmium, persistent plastics, DDT, crude oil, and hydrocarbons.
A UNEP report 1990 showed that 93% of its shellfish contained more fecal bacteria than the maximum WHO recommendation. Mercury also reaches dangerous levels within shellfish. Other pollutants include 60,000 metric tons of detergent, 3,800 metric tons of lead, and 3,600 metric tons of phosphates.