The Earth is experiencing abrupt changes in climate due to global warming, deforestation, and air pollution. Scientific research indicates that the ozone layer is degrading, and the global sea level is increasing rapidly yearly. As a result, landscapes worldwide are rapidly altering, and there is no guarantee that some of the most beautiful places on Earth will continue to exist. To make the most of these locations before they disappear, here is a list of 10 must-visit places.
10Taj Mahal, Agra, India
The Taj Mahal in Agra, India, is a world heritage site and the most celebrated symbol of love. Mughal emperor Shah Jahan commissioned the Taj Mahal in memory of his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Construction began in 1648 and lasted over 21 years. The Taj Mahal’s appearance changes depending on the time of day, transitioning from a pinkish hue in the morning to milky white in the evening and golden at night.
Unfortunately, the Taj Mahal is in a highly populated area with seventeen chemical industries. Sulfur dioxide released by these industries, combined with atmospheric moisture, forms sulfuric acid, causing severe damage to the Taj Mahal’s beauty. Sulfuric acid causes the marble to discolor and turn it to flake, dulling its brightness.
9Glacier National Park, Montana, United States
Glacier National Park, located in Montana, USA, is considered the crown jewel of the continent’s ecosystem. This renowned national park is known for its picturesque valleys, stunning lakes, and magnificent forests. The park boasts an impressive 762 lakes and 563 streams and is also home to numerous rare animal and bird species.
Unfortunately, the melting of glaciers within the park has led to forest fires and loss of fresh water. Additionally, global climate change and the spread of exotic species pose significant threats to the diverse flora and fauna within the park’s geographic boundaries. The park has also been impacted by air quality issues caused by the airborne transport of toxic materials into the atmosphere.
8Madagascar Island, Southeast Africa
Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world, located in Southeast Africa’s Indian Ocean. The island boasts approximately 250000 animal species and 14000 plant species endemic to Madagascar. Additionally, the Toliara coral system, the third largest coral system in the world, is situated on the island, contributing to its reputation as the “eighth continent” due to its distinctive ecosystem.
Unfortunately, deforestation threatens the island’s ecosystem. Widespread vegetation clearing leads to soil erosion, rendering it unsuitable for plant life and causing the disappearance of certain native animal species and the loss of the coral system. Illegal fishing, as well as large-scale charcoal and wood extraction, also disrupt the island’s ecological balance. Scientists have projected that Madagascar Island’s beauty may disappear within the next 35 years.
7Congo Basin, Equatorial Africa
The Congo Basin, located in Africa, is the second-largest rainforest in the world. It occupies an extensive area of 500 acres and spreads across seven countries, renowned globally for its extraordinary wilderness. However, human activities have begun to pose a hazardous threat to the Congo Basin. The unsustainable extraction of natural resources from the forest, such as timber, diamonds, and petroleum, leads to ecosystem degradation.
Hunting for meat further reduces the number of animal species, while illegal logging, farming, and gorilla warfare severely threaten the Congo Basin. Deforestation in the area is increasing each year to meet the demand for wood and charcoal. If this continues, we may lose two-thirds of the forest of the Congo Basin by 2040.
6Dead Sea, Border of Israeil and Jordan
The Dead Sea, located near the border of Jordan and Israel, is actually a lake highly concentrated with salt. With a salinity of 33.7%, it is one of the saltiest bodies of water in the world. Due to the high salt concentration, people can easily float in the Dead Sea.
However, the Dead Sea has been shrinking alarmingly over the past few decades. Its water level drops by 4 feet annually, and if this trend continues, the Dead Sea may vanish entirely within the next 50 years. One contributing factor to the shrinking of the Dead Sea is the high water consumption by chemical industries located along the Jordan River, which limits the water flow rate to the sea.
The Alps, towering at 15782 feet, is the largest mountain range in Europe. It spans eight European countries, including Austria, Italy, Slovenia, Germany, France, Monaco, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland, forming a crescent-shaped boundary around the continent. The Alps are home to numerous glaciers, around 13000 rare species of vegetation, and 30,000 species of wildlife. This majestic mountain range attracts approximately 120 million visitors annually.
Unfortunately, the Alps face several challenges, such as avalanches, heatwaves, and global warming. The scorching European heatwaves are responsible for melting the glaciers in the Alps by 20% annually. This ice loss continues to persist as the Earth’s atmosphere temperature increases each year, posing a threat to the sustainability of the Alps.
Venice is a stunning city in Italy, comprised of 118 small islands connected by canals and bridges. It is a world heritage site famous for its beautiful architecture and picturesque scenery. Every day, over 50,000 tourists flock to the city, making it the 28th most visited city in the world. The Grand Canal boat tour and the Carnival of Venice are two of the most popular tourist attractions in the area.
Unfortunately, studies have shown that Venice may disappear within the next 50 years due to rising sea levels. The biggest threat to the city is the large tides known as ‘aqua alta,’ which result from the rising sea level. Every year, the frequency of floods in Venice increases, causing the submerging of the lowest islands.
3Galapagos islands, Pacific ocean
The Galapagos is a collection of 19 volcanic islands located on the equator line in the Pacific Ocean. Many species, such as the flightless cormorants, blue-footed booby, Galapagos sea lions, Galapagos Hawks, giant pink tortoises, and Galapagos penguins, are endemic to the islands. Unfortunately, many of the Galapagos’ inhabited islands have become overpopulated by humans. It caused many changes to the ecosystem by transportation, hunting, deforestation, and other daily activities.
Species brought to the islands, such as goats, dogs, and rats, by humans compete with the native species, causing many rare animal species to disappear. Massive tourism is also a threat to the Galapagos. Natural hazards such as volcano eruptions, earthquakes, and increased atmospheric temperature also threaten the Galapagos islands.
The Maldives, an archipelago of 1200 islands in the Indian Ocean, is the lowest nation in the world. Its deep blue seas, white sandy beaches, and turquoise reefs attract half a million tourists every year, making it one of the top tourist destinations in the world. However, the Maldives faces severe environmental threats due to rising sea levels and global warming.
Many islands in the archipelago are at risk of being submerged, and ocean acidification caused by human activities is changing the natural system of the Maldives. To address this issue, former president Mohammed Nasheed proposed a plan to purchase land in other countries, such as India, to provide a future home for the people of Maldives.
1Great barrier reef, Australia
The Great Barrier Reef is a natural wonder and one of the largest coral reefs in the world, consisting of 3,000 individual reef systems. This magnificent reef is home to various marine creatures, including 1,500 fish species, six species of threatened marine turtles, and more than 30 species of marine mammals. It is also the most popular tourist attraction in Australia.
Unfortunately, the Australian government’s construction of new ports in the Great Barrier Reef for trade caused the water to become turbid and noisy and severely threatened many marine species. The arrival of new coal and natural gas ports has altered the structure and beauty of this natural wonder. Moreover, human interventions caused ocean acidification and increased ocean temperature near the Great Barrier Reef.