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Lake Marmara dries up!

Marmara Lake, known as the western province of Manisa’s “bird paradise,” has completely dried up, disrupting the local ecosystem and economy and inflicting substantial hardship upon villagers in the vicinity.

Once home to 20,000 water birds of 101 different species, including endangered crested pelicans and cormorants, the lake’s water loss led to its desolation in August 2021. The drying of the lake forced the local population, previously reliant on fishing, to turn to agriculture. However, this shift caused frequent land disputes, resulting in one death and two injuries. Consequently, local authorities restricted agricultural activities in the dried lake bed.

Cemal Erefe claimed the lake’s drying was deliberate, accusing authorities of cutting off water sources. “Our lake was intentionally drained. It has severely affected our climate and agricultural yield,” Erefe stated.

The lake’s disappearance has altered the local climate, increasing frost and affecting crops like olives. Villagers argue that the ecological damage extends beyond their livelihoods, with thousands of creatures losing their habitat.

“Fishing is over,” Erefe said. “The climate here has completely changed.”

Associate Professor Dr. Erol Kesici of the Turkish Nature Conservation Association attributes the lake’s death to human intervention, not climate change.

“Artificial canals drained the lake, and dams blocked its springs,” Kesici explained. “This lake had an identity, now lost due to human actions.”

The State Hydraulic Works has initiated a project to save Lake Marmara by transferring 25 million cubic meters of water from Manisa’s Bozdağ district. However, Kesici cautions that not all water sources are suitable for the lake’s ecosystem.

Dr. Erol Kesici

Villagers like Lütfü Şener, who spent their lives fishing in Lake Marmara, now face unemployment and uncertainty. “The lake drying up haunts my dreams,” he said, urging for the lake’s restoration…

Source: hurriyetdailynews.com

About İsmail Uğural

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