Key Istanbul water source at risk from illegal dumping
Sebati Karakurt – ISTANBUL
One of Istanbul’s most critical sources of water is threatened by illegal dumping that officials have had difficulty in preventing, according to municipal police and witnesses.
The drivers of trucks removing construction and other debris frequently use the area around the Sazlıdere Dam Lake as a dumping ground due to the long waits, extra cost in gasoline and 4,000-Turkish Lira fee to dump their loads at legal sites in Istanbul’s Kağıthane and Zeytinburnu districts.
This situation has sparked a debate between Başakşehir and Avcılar Municipalities. Municipal police in Başakşehir accuse counterparts in Avcılar of not doing enough to prevent the dumping while noting that the illegal acts were occurring just outside of their jurisdiction.
According to witnesses, some of those dumping the debris in the area have attacked municipal police.
A building contractor, Ahmet Koçak, said small-scale companies were conducting the illegal dumping, not large ones, because large-scale companies do not want to risk a 70,000- 135,000 lira fine for illegal dumping.
Instead, Koçak said the drivers were likely dumping on their own initiative.
GPS surveillance devices have been installed in 4,000 dump trucks, but a significant number of trucks are still able to dump illegally because they are not fitted with the devices.
At least five tons of debris are dumped illegally every month in Istanbul, according to officials.
The Sazlıdere Dam is a reservoir in Istanbul’s Küçükçekmece district. The dam supplies the European side of the city and its suburbs with drinking water.