|This article does not cite any references or sources. (August 2007)|
The Damascus Ghouta is a green agricultural belt surrounding the city of Damascus in the south and east. Separating the city from the dry grasslands bordering the Syrian Desert, it has provided its inhabitants with a variety of cereals, vegetables, and fruits for thousands of years. While human settlements in the area date back to ancient times, an uncontrolled development of the area took place throughout the past decades. The increasing food demand by the rapidly growing population of the capital, urbanization and industrial development have increased the pressure on the agricultural lands.
This green belt has been a very popular resort for the city dwellers particularly in spring.
Resources and hazards
This area includes a large variety of environmental problems, including water scarcity due to the extremely small annual precipitation. Water is so scarce there that there has been a rapid decline of the groundwater level in large parts of the Ghouta. Also, there has been a large increase in pollutants from Damascus' traffic, industry, waste, and sewage, which have pathways to the Ghouta. In fact, the future of the water supply for the Syrian capital depends on the environmental situation of this area.