Chemical substance contaminates land in Istanbul’s Büyükçekmece

Chemical substance contaminates land in Istanbul’s Büyükçekmece

Chemical substance contaminates land in Istanbul’s Büyükçekmece

Several animals perished and a number of people were also affected due to a chemical substance that was dumped in a wasteland in Istanbul’s Büyükçekmece district. 

The area has been quarantined and a residence close to the scene has been temporarily evacuated. Teams from the Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD) collected samples from the liquid dumped in the land and initial findings suggest that the chemical substance may be “hydrogen cyanide.”

The substance was dumped by an unidentified group in a wasteland next to the TEM motorway in the Kamiloba neighborhood of Büyükçekmece. Because of the substance nine sheep and over 10 chickens were poisoned and died.

When a local informed the Büyükçekmece Municipality about the perished animals, units from AFAD and the department of environment and urbanization of the Istanbul Governor’s Office were dispatched to the scene.

The teams sealed off the area and started inspections. Samples were collected and sent to a laboratory to run tests to identify the nature of the chemical substance.

The killed animals were buried and contaminated soil from the land plot was loaded onto trucks to be destroyed.

Environmental massacre

“A truck dumped the chemical here around noon time on April 3. The inspections have revealed that it is hydrogen cyanide and formaldehyde. This is a toxic substance. We are trying to decontaminate the effected soil. This is an environmental massacre,” said Çağlayan Gürsel, the local director of environmental protection department. 

The contaminated soil will be destroyed, Gürsel added.

“We have experienced similar incidents in Büyükçekmece in the past,” Büyükçekmece Mayor Hasan Akgün said.

“I am seriously concerned about the protection of the Büyükçekmece drainage basin that is the most important basin in Istanbul. This is an atrocity. The Büyükçekmece lake basin is under threat because of illegally dumped excavation soil and chemicals,” he added.