Marble quarries ‘chase’ flamingos from Burdur
ANTALYA – Doğan News AgencyThe mountains around Yarışlı Lake in the southern province of Burdur, which is home to many bird species including flamingos, have been invaded by marble quarries. Flamingos that take shelter in the lake every year did not come this year because of the marble quarries, which surround the half of the lake.
Marble quarries surround almost all the mountains in Burdur’s Tefenni, Karaman and Yeşilova districts and cause damage to the area’s resources, including water and agriculture. They also pose as a threat for many migratory birds such as egrets and white-headed ducks as well as flamingos.
Yarışlı Lake, where bird observers and trekking groups organize visits, used to host thousands of flamingos every year in April. But in recent years, marble quarries have become active on the mountains around half of the lake.
For the first time this year, flamingos, like many other birds, did not migrate to the lake because of the activity of construction equipment, dynamite explosions, dust and noise pollution.
Engineer and founder of the trekking group Patika, Nusret Yakışıklı said flamingos, which pass through Anatolia on their migration between Africa and Siberia, normally make the lake their home for nearly for a month every year.
“In the past, the Mediterranean region had a place called ‘Lakes Area’ en route between the [provinces of] western Muğla to central Anatolian Konya. But over the last 50 years, 90 percent of lakes dried up in the name of development and reconstruction,” he said.
The last shelter for birds
Noting that Yarışlı Lake was the “last” shelter for dozens of local birds as well as migratory birds, Yakışıklı said, “This lake has something that other lakes do not have: alkaline water. What is this? Lots of bird species can only live and produce in alkaline water due to their ecology. This lake, located between Salda and Burdur lakes, is a fragile and living one. Just like the forests, streams and seas, lakes have an ecosystem, too. Contrary to belief, lake ecosystems are very precious living environments. In this sense, Yarışlı Lake is the last shelter for birds to take a breath, rest and accumulate energy during their long migratory road.”
He added that right next to the lake, dozens of marble quarries had opened in the last three to five years and new ones were still being opened.
“Yarışlı Lake is fed by two sources. One is its own water source to its south but there is a marble quarry on top of each water source. Besides a lack of reason, [the location of these quarries] is the sign of bribes, sneaky jobs and greediness.”
Yakışıklı said rainwater was the second source for the bowl-shaped lake.
“The side walls of this bowl are full of marble quarries. When it rains, the marble dust is carried to the lake and trickles down to the bottom of the lake. It creates a concrete effect in the lake. The living species in the lake, fish, water bugs, frogs, algae, microscopic creatures and flies, die because the lake water becomes like dead water in a jar. Its ecology is destroyed. Then birds cannot find food in the lake,” he explained.
He said the birds have also abstained from entering the water and looked for food around the lake, which has turned into an off white color because of the marble dust.