The White Beach, known as Spiagge Bianche is one of the most popular beaches in Italy. It appears to resemble that of a pristine Caribbean resort perfectly. However, this deceiving white sand beach gets its brilliant hue from the chemical discharge of a nearby factory that manufactures sodium carbonate, which is used in glass, detergent and soap. The company discharges thousands of tons of toxic wastewater every year into the Mediterranean Sea. This discharge contains a mixture of limestone and calcium chloride, which tints the water light blue and gives the sand its bright white colour.
Although the water and sand may look clean, Spiagge Bianche has been listed by the United Nations as one of the 15 most polluted areas on the Mediterranean coast. In addition to limestone and calcium chloride, the Solvay plant’s wastewater also contains heavy metals like mercury, arsenic, and lead. Unfortunately, there are no signs warning beachgoers about the dangers of the deceiving white sand.