Diving in Þingvellir Could Jeopardise UNESCO Status
UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee has asked the Icelandic government to provide information on diving operations in Þingvellir National Park, mbl.is reports. The committee received a complaint about the snorkelling and scuba diving operations that take place in the park’s Silfra rift. Seven diving companies have access to Silfra, where some 76,000 divers and snorkellers take a dip each year, potentially affecting its flora and fauna, as well as its appearance.
Lawyer Jónas Haraldsson sent the letter of complaint to the UNESCO committee in early August. He states that diving operations in Silfra prioritise profit over protection and contradict the conditions UNESCO places on world heritage sites.
Iceland contains three sites that are on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. While Þingvellir is listed for its cultural importance, Surtsey island and Vatnajökull National Park are listed for their natural importance.