Chemical waste gets mixed in sewage system in Istanbul’s Tuzla, causing health problems
Hundreds of locals were hospitalized on Dec. 25 after being affected by chemical waste that got mixed in the sewage system and caused pungent smells that alarmed locals and officials in Istanbul’s industrial Tuzla district on the city’s Anatolian side.
“It began after 8 p.m. There was a smell we couldn’t understand what it was. We were bothered by it so much that my entire family left the house,” a local told Doğan News Agency on Dec. 25.
Aerial footage taken above the area showed the freshet in which the chemical flowing through Marmara Sea was observed to have turned black, and running through the greenhouses area in the district.
“The smell is caused by some sort of chemical waste that got leaked into the sewage water system,” the Istanbul Municipality announced on Dec. 25.
The chemicals causing the mayhem in Tuzla were tetra chlor and trichloroethylene – both widely used in metal and textile industries.
A local prosecutor’s office launched an investigation into the incident that impacted several neighborhoods in Tuzla on charges of “conscious polluting of the environment” and “conscious injuring.”
Four trucks identified to have caused the chemical mixing were seized on Dec. 26, and the investigation continued.
One possibility, authorities reported, is that a privately-owned sewage cleaning truck dumped the chemical waste into the sewer system, which police will investigate using the security footage recorded in the area, which is highly industrialized.
There also is a municipal solid waste assessment area in the region impacted by the chemicals’ leakage, Doğan News Agency reported.
Following the disturbance, a crisis desk in cooperation with the Istanbul Water and Sewerage Administration (İSKİ), fire authority, the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD), the Istanbul Municipality and the provincial environmental directorate was formed at Istanbul’s Disaster Coordination Center (AKOM), the Istanbul Municipality announced on their official Twitter account on Dec. 26.
Many people, mostly women and children, were hospitalized, accompanied by health personnel who were wearing masks and uniforms.
On Dec. 26, state-run Anadolu Agency reported that 62 of those who were admitted to hospitals were discharged, while others remain under medical provision.
The incident affected local transportation as well. A road by the chemical-infused stream was closed to traffic surrounded with metal barriers on Dec. 26.
But it was not the first time chemical leakage endangered Tuzla locals’ health.
On Aug. 5, a chemical leakage was spotted at a factory in the Tuzla Leather Organized Industrial Zone. It was stopped before harming anyone.