North Macedonia’s Lake Ohrid has been a World Heritage Site since 1979. But the lake is getting worse, and will be labeled ‘in danger’ by Unesco.
The main problem can be summarised easily: rapid urbanisation leads to pollution. After the country became independent in 1990, more tourists came to the area. A lot of new buildings were built around the lake, but not always in a way compatible with the environment.
For example, Unesco suspects that around a third of the buildings in the area pump their waste directly into the lake. This threatens the unique species living there. Environmental issues aside, the buildings also interfere with the ancient town of Ohrid.
In Ohrid, environmentalists, local businesses and local politicians will have to figure out how to combine their interests. Whether a city cares about their World Heritage-status is one thing, but further disruption of the lake could impact tourism in the long run as well.