Factory discharging untreated wastewater into Marmara Sea sparks debate

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While Turkey launched its “largest and most comprehensive sea cleaning mobilization” ever to save the Marmara Sea from a plague of excessive algae, the discharge of toxic wastewater from a fertilizer factory into the sea without treatment has caused public outrage.

Footage showing untreated wastewater being drained into the Marmara Sea by a fertilizer factory in the northwestern province of Balıkesir’s Bandırma district went viral on social media, triggering a public outcry.

Noting that the region where the factory dumps its wastes into the sea is a sensitive area, the experts pointed out that the quality of the water discharged from this phosphate-producing factory should meet the specified standard.

Experts stressed that the facility should be closed immediately until necessary measures are taken and that fines should be imposed if the wastewater values exceeded the specified limit.

“An examination was made in that area and phosphorus values were measured to be three or four times higher for 12 months. When we examined the reason, we came across the phosphate fertilizer factory in the region,” an expert said.

Another footage showing the discharge of waste from a wastewater treatment plant in the northwestern province of Kocaeli’s Dilovası district into the Dilderesi Creek stirred the outrage.

“For years, tons of wastewater flows from Dilovası organized industrial zone to the Dilderesi Creek and then to the Marmara Sea without being treated properly. Not just wastewater, but officially sewage and industrial water is being discharged,” one social media user said.

Speaking to daily Hürriyet, officials from the Environment and Urbanization Ministry reported that inspection teams were sent to both the factory in Bandırma and the facility in Dilovası.

“Similar complaints and notices about this facility were sent to the provincial directorate before. The inspection was carried out by technical personnel, and it was determined that the yellow sulfur material stored in the coastal facility was thrown into the Bandırma Bay,” the officials said.

A fine of 96,561 Turkish Liras ($11,240) was imposed on the facility and the decision was announced on June 1, according to the officials.

Making a statement to Hürriyet, Kemal Gençer, the CEO of the factory in Bandırma, said that seawater was used for cooling purposes, that no negative situation was detected as a result of the investigation by the authorities and that no fine was given for polluting the sea so far.

Meanwhile, nearly 392 cubic meters of mucilage were collected in two days from the Marmara Sea within the scope of the “Mucilage Cleaning Campaign” initiated by the Environment and Urbanization Ministry.

Hurriyet Daily News

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