The studies initiated by the Ministry of Environment, Urbanization and Climate Change in order to protect Lake Van and ensure its sustainable use and increase environmental protection awareness in the region continue uninterruptedly. Minister Murat Kurum made a statement on his social media account regarding the efforts to eliminate the pollution in Lake Van. Minister Kurum said, "First we eliminated the causes of pollution, then we started cleaning. So far, 500 thousand cubic meters of bottom mud has been removed from Lake Van. We will not leave an untreated gram of water in our lake!” used his statements.
Murat Kurum, Minister of Environment, Urbanization and Climate Change, stated that the works are continuing uninterruptedly in order to protect Lake Van, which has unique natural beauties, historical and cultural riches, to ensure its sustainable use and to raise environmental awareness in the region.
The Minister Institution made a statement on his social media account regarding the efforts to eliminate the pollution in Lake Van. In the statement of the Minister Institution, “First we eliminated the causes of pollution, then we started cleaning. So far, 500 thousand cubic meters of bottom mud has been removed from Lake Van. We will not leave an untreated gram of water in our lake!” said.
Bottom mud cleaning works; It is one of the 13 sub-activities of the Van Lake Basin Protection Action Plan, which has reached Lake Van for years and causes bad odor and appearance. The works were initiated after the commissioning of the Van Central Wastewater Treatment Plant and the reduction of pollution caused by animal activities.
“So far, 500 thousand cubic meters of bottom mud has been removed from Lake Van”
Menderes İşçen, Head of Water and Soil Management Department of the General Directorate of Environmental Management, who made a statement about the works carried out in Lake Van, stated that the works on the Tusba Beach were carried out in 3 stages.
Stating that the first phase of the work has come to an end and 500 thousand cubic meters of bottom mud has been removed, İşçen said, "We are planning to complete this work before the summer months of next year." said.
“Sludge cleaning activities started on the 9-kilometer coastal band of Tatvan”
Emphasizing that dredging activities will be carried out on all shores of Lake Van, which are suitable for bottom mud accumulation, with the instructions of the Ministry, İşçen said, “Lake Van has a different hydrological structure. The currents in the lake are mostly towards Tatvan Beach. Due to the negative impact of the said pollution on human and environmental health, we started the bottom mud cleaning activities on Tatvan's 300-meter-wide and approximately 9-kilometer coastal band on August 15, 2022. The said work is being carried out within the means and it is aimed to complete the work as soon as possible.” said.
Noting that they started the preparations for the Basin Protection Action Plan for Lake Van in 2019, upon the instruction of the Minister of Environment, Urbanization and Climate Change Murat Kurum, İşçen reminded that the works were completed in 2020 with the participation of all institutions, universities and non-governmental organizations both in the region and in the center.
“Thanks to the Van Central Water Treatment Plant, we prevented the pollution caused by waste water”
Stating that two of the 13 sub-activities in the region are aimed at eliminating the factors that cause this bottom sludge, İşçen said, “Van Central Waste Water Treatment Plant was completed very quickly with both technical and financial support provided by the Ministry and was put into operation in September 2021. Therefore, we have prevented the pollution originating from wastewater in this way.” made statements.
“The bottom mud that will come out of here is planned to be used as a soil conditioner in the people's garden”
Pointing out that the organic content of the bottom mud here is very high, according to the analyzes made in the feasibility study conducted on the Van Tusba Coast and carried out by the Ministry, İşçen continued his words as follows:
“The extracted sludge does not pose any danger. We have determined that this bottom mud can be used as a soil improver in accordance with the principles of circular economy, and in parallel with this, a national garden is planned to be built by the Ministry at the back of the place where dredging is carried out on the same beach. It is planned to use the bottom mud from here as a soil conditioner in the people's garden. At the same time, we think that it can also be used as a filling material in some regions in the province of Van due to its non-hazardous nature.”
“We can think of bottom mud cleaning as an operation to prolong the life of the lake”
Menderes İşçen stated that lakes are born, live and die like living things and that their birth is actually the result of natural physical events:
“Van Lake is a lake that was formed as a result of the lava ejected by the volcanic structures around it flowing about 200 thousand years ago and forming a barrier. The death of lakes may be due to similar physical effects, as well as natural human effects, but as a result of the formation of a sediment (bottom mud) layer caused by the solid materials carried by the streams and rivers that feed the lakes, the lakes fill up and the lakes' lifespan ends in this way. Sediment is actually a nutrient material for the ecosystems in lakes, which is carried by rivers and due to the high organic and inorganic substances they contain. But when it rises above a certain level, these substances can have negative effects on the creatures in the lake. We call the process of removing the sediment from the lake dredging work. In fact, this can be thought of as an operation to prolong the life of the lake.”
“We prevented bad odor around Lake Van”
Stating that two particularly important activities on the Van region make dredging obligatory here, İşçen said, “One of these activities is the discharge of wastewater from the center of Van and the surrounding districts into the lake without treatment. Another is the uncontrolled release of wastes from livestock activities, which are very close to the lake, into the lake. High organic pollution from these two sources has caused a high amount of mud formation in this region and especially on the coastline. This mud has also become very hard and solid because it has accumulated here for a very long time. The mud accumulating here causes the water quality of the lake to deteriorate.” said. He also added that there is an odor problem in terms of visual aspects and especially with the effect of heat in the summer months.
“We ensured the establishment of the Van Agriculture-based Specialized OIZ”
Emphasizing that livestock activities are carried out in an uncontrolled manner very close to Lake Van, İşçen said, “According to the figures in July, we demolished 576 barns on the shore of Lake Van. We ensured the establishment of the Van agriculture-based specialized OSB. At the moment, all the preparations of the specialized OSB have been completed. Livestock activities here will continue within the Specialized OIZ in a way that will ensure a much more effective and integrated environmental management.” said.