Tons of waste spills into Aegean waters after river covers opened
Latif Sansür – AYDIN
DHA PhotosTons of solid and liquid waste has spilled into the Aegean Sea and the Bafa Lake Natural Park in Turkey’s western province of Aydın after regulator covers on the Greater Menderes River were opened.
The waste had grown over the course of the 584-kilometer-long Greater Menderes River, collecting through the Afyonkarahisar, Uşak, Denizli and Aydın provinces and accumulating at the regulator covers, as there was no intervention despite warnings from local residents and associations.
Accordingly, Association of Nature Lovers and the Protection of Ecosystems (EKODOSD) executives in cooperation with the Söke Irrigation Union spotted the excessive waste buildup and referred to the Aydın Governorate’s State Hydraulic Works and the Provincial Directorate of Environment and Urbanization but to no avail, as a solution to remove the waste could not be reached.
As the officials did not take the warnings into consideration, the regulator covers were opened and thousands of tons of waste flowed into the Aegean and the Bafa Lake Natural Park.
EKODOSD President Bahattin Sürücü said the Greater Menderes River, which serves as a lifeline supporting living things in natural parks and lakes, has been facing increased pollution stemming from humans.
Sürücü added the environmental pollution also affected the economic, ecological and social life in the region.
According to inspections by the EKODOSD, the waste ranged from housewares to plastic bottles, animal carcasses to diapers, and agricultural pesticide containers to cans.
Having defined the most credible witnesses of environmental pollution as fishermen in the Bafa region, Sürücü slammed the mentality of “water sweeps the waste away,” which was predominantly seen in local people. This has encouraged people to throw their garbage in the river, particularly in crowded places where people hold picnics, gatherings and weddings.
The regulator covers will remain open until the next irrigation season, thus the waste will not be noticed. However, for this reason, waste will continue to be carried through the Greater Menderes delta to the Aegean Sea.