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Pollution in Lake Van is increasing: Authorities are indifferent

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The pollution of Lake Van, which has not been on the agenda for a long time, has been the subject of advertisements recently. Environmental activist Zozan Özgökçe emphasized the organization and joint struggle to restore the lake, while Van Environment Association Co-Chair Ali Kalçık underlined the indifference of the authorities.

Lake Van, the world’s largest soda lake, continues its struggle against many dangers. Lake Van, which continues to be polluted by polluted wastes and sewage waters, has an area of 3 thousand 713 square meters, but if it is not protected, it is in danger of drying out. Although cleaning projects are prepared by the municipalities from time to time, the desired efficiency has not been achieved so far. The Advanced Biological Treatment Plant project submitted to the European Union by the Van Metropolitan Municipality, which is under the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), was accepted, but the trustee appointed to the municipality took over the project. The people of the region and environmentalists are disturbed by the facilities, which cost 180 million TL.

Pollution in Lake Van is increasing: Authorities are indifferent -

The opening of the Biological Treatment Facility was carried out by President Erdoğan’s wife Emine Erdoğan in June 2021. After the bad smell emitted in the treatment plant disturbed the people of the neighborhood, the CHP made a central visit. Environmental Activist Zozan Özgökçe and ÇEV-DER President Ali Kalçık made assessments on the problems that may be caused by the bad odor emitted by the treatment plant as well as other wastes discharged into the lake, in Lake Van and the city.

‘All provinces and districts are responsible’


Saying that the discharge of liquid and solid wastes into the lake is the eternal problem of the city, Özgökçe said, “Actually, the bottom mud is the pollution that has accumulated over the years. Now the weather has warmed up and the absence of an odor emitting unit is also a problem. Two provinces around the lake and all other districts are responsible for all the polluted water discharged into the lake, except for the sap created by Lake Van itself. On the other hand, the biggest biological treatment plant built in Van, emitting odor and being dirty has become an important problem of the city. Everyone from tourism to local people living there has been negatively affected. These waters should actually be given to the fields of Van, but they are drained into Van Lake. This situation needs to change,” she said.

‘Awareness-raising activities should be done’


Özgökçe, who called for the NGOs in Van to cooperate on Lake Van, said, “Many symposiums and meetings about Lake Van were held, but they did not get anywhere. Although the individual pollution rate is not as much as the social pollution rate, it still exists. For example, an individual traveling on a boat can throw his cigarette into the lake. Non-governmental organizations should also work on this issue. Municipalities should also work to raise awareness of the public on this issue. There isn’t even a warning post about it. On the contrary, municipalities violate the rights of Lake Van. For example, they built a bicycle cafe in the middle of the lake. They concreted the edge of Lake Van. In the past, the edge of Lake Van was green, now it has always been concrete. Public institutions occupied the entire edge of Lake Van. Next to the water sports facilities, a sparkling water always joins Lake Van. Again, many mountain waters that remained during the Armenian period, which should have been poured into the fields, flow into the Van Lake in a dirty way,” she said.

‘We need to organize about this!’


Özgökçe finally said, “As individuals, we all have a lot of responsibilities. For example, not spilling oil on our sinks, not polluting the lake when we are sitting by Lake Van, not spending too much detergent is actually a contribution to Lake Van. My most basic suggestion is that NGOs constantly make press statements in front of the refineries. We have to get organized and do something about it.”

Pollution in Lake Van is increasing: Authorities are indifferent - van golu kirlilik artiyor belediyeler duyarsiz 5 1024x768 1

‘All the wastes of the city are poured into the lake’


Kalcik reminded the opening period of the “Advanced Biological Treatment Plant” and said, “President Erdogan announced it as great news. There is pitch black water that is constantly poured into the lake and there is a foul odor emanating. We are constantly making statements, but no progress is being made. 1,800 liters of wastewater are discharged per second. Nearly 1 million 200 thousand people live around Lake Van, and all their wastes are directly and indirectly discharged into Lake Van. According to technical calculations, approximately 57 thousand cubic meters of sewage per day is discharged into the sea only in the Van Lake basin. Since Van Lake is a closed basin, it officially turns into mud. Besides, another problem is that there are about 102 flowing streams around Lake Van. A significant part of the flowing water of these streams passes through the settlements. It also takes sewage and household waste as it passes by and pours it into the lake.”

‘They are making perceptions, not cleaning’


Kalçık, who did not find the cleaning method of the bottom mud cleaned and left aside in Lake Van correct, said, “The beautiful Van Lake, which nature has given us, disappears every day and turns into slime. Authorities remain indifferent and insensitive. The place called a treatment plant, built in the 1970s, has formed deep mud around Lake Van since then. One of the biggest problems of the lake is the bottom mud. A mass of human excrement was formed. When they clean the bottom mud, they clean it and leave it at the 0 point of Lake Van. The name of this is not cleaning, but creating perception. Bottom mud must be disposed of. I hope the relevant authorities and the people living in these basins will take care of this lake.”

Pollution in Lake Van is increasing: Authorities are indifferent - van golu kirlilik artiyor belediyeler duyarsiz 4 1024x768 1

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Translator :Akif Coşkun

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