Turkish Ministry to limit access to White Islands of Lake Salda
Gülistan Alagöz – ISTANBUL
Within the scope of measures taken by the Environment and Urbanization Ministry to protect Lake Salda in the southwestern province of Burdur, a limited number of people will be allowed to visit the lake’s protected White Islands area, where 1.5 million people visit annually.
According to the new curbs, the number of annual visitors to the White Islands of Lake Salda, also known as “Turkey’s Maldives” due to its bright azure waters and white sands, will be decreased to some 570,000, with a maximum of 540 people allowed to visit the White Islands area at a time.
The ministry is taking the necessary steps one by one to protect the pristine waters and white sands of the lake from the exploitation caused by people and irregular structures.
Wooden barriers erected 500 meters (1,640 feet) behind the lake prevent vehicles from passing along the lake’s shore. The irregular structures were removed, and garbage is being regularly collected in the area. All kinds of illegal temporary structures, tents and container-type buildings were also removed.
Thanks to the protection measures taken in and around the lake earlier last year, the water quality increased to drinking water quality.
The area of Salda Lake Nature Park, which spanned 120 acres (48.5 hectares), was expanded to 570 acres (230.6 hectares) last year.
In order to protect the natural structure of Lake Salda, mud baths will not be allowed in the White Islands and public beach areas anymore, while removing clay and sand from the bottom of the lake and the beach will be prohibited. Using cosmetic products such as shampoo and soap in the lake and shower areas, consuming food and beverages, setting up sunbeds and tents, and having picnics will no longer be allowed in the area.
The ministry also prohibited smoking at Lake Salda’s White Islands area, and a commission under Burdur Governor’s office was also set up to inspect the area twice a week.
Recently, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) called Lake Salda “Mars on Earth.”
NASA said on March 9 that the minerals and rock deposits at Salda are the nearest match on Earth to those around the Mars’ Jezero Crater where the NASA spacecraft landed, and which is believed to have once been flooded with water.
“Information gathered from Lake Salda may help the scientists as they search for fossilized traces of microbial life preserved in sediment thought to have been deposited around the delta and the long-vanished lake it once fed,” Reuters reported quoting some NASA officials.