Ergene project will destroy marine life: Report
ISTANBUL – Ali DağlarA planned clean-up project for Ergene River would destroy natural life in the Marmara Sea, according a report released by several non-governmental organizations and environmental groups May 18.
A report issued by a committee formed by members of the Turkish Medical Association (TTB), Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects (TMMOB), and Marmara Environmental Monitoring (MAREM), along with contributions from the Ergene and Thrace Platform and Union of the Turkish Bar Association’s Commission for Environmental and Urban Law, says the clean-up project for Ergene River poses a major threat to the environmental life in the Marmara Sea and the surrounding area.
The clean-up project is controversial because the project will be based on discharging polluted water while keeping solid waste in place. Representatives from the environmental groups say keeping the solid waste in the river will be a major threat to the natural life in the Marmara Sea, which is already been suffering from contamination.
The committee also held a pre-inspection of the Şerefli River where the “Deep Discharging Project” will be done by Tekirdağ Ergene Deep Discharging Company, in addition to the shores of the Marmara Sea.
The report states Ergene River is an important supplier of water for the Istranca Mountains that are vital for the natural life in Thrace. The river, the report states, has been highly contaminated with industrial and agricultural waste, stating that no decontamination action has been taken thus far, despite the river being polluted with hazardous materials for 20 years.
The Marmara Sea is an inland sea that does not have sufficient oxygen supplies; innumerable living creatures are not able to live below 25 meters due to the increasing pollution, the report states, underlining that the deep discharging project would not be a feasible solution to the contamination problems but rather bring about further environmental issues.
The clean-up project for Ergene River was first announced in 2011 as an environmental policy plan called the “Ergene Basin Protection Plan” which devised the solution of moving water polluted by the waste of Organized Industrial Zone (OSB) to the Marmara Sea. The project was, at the time, assigned to the Tekirdağ Ergene Deep Discharging Company.
The water sources that feed the Ergene River and agricultural lands irrigated with this water are threatened by industrial and domestic wastes originating from regional factories, quarries established in Istranca Mountains, unregulated industrialization and unplanned urbanization of the region. As a result, Thrace’s centuries-old agrarian structure is coming to an end, as pollution in the Ergene River is jeopardizing the habitat of all living creatures. The inhabitants of the region face with the pollution’s severe costs every single day.