Channel Istanbul, recently approved by the environment ministry, would be a 45 km shipping canal joining the Black Sea to the Marmara.
The artificial channel could dry up the Black Sea, and pollute the Sea of Marmara and then the Mediterranean, harming marine life in both. The canal would also destroy Küçükçekmece lagoon, which in turn could see hundreds of different species vanish.
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The government is trying to start constructions during quarantine. This project would totally ruin wildlife and endangered endemic species.
Channel Istanbul bears the risks of highly affecting the surrounding ecosystem including the natural equilibrium of the two seas. If this project materializes the balance will be reversed between the cold and fresh waters of the Black Sea and the warm and salty waters that come from the Mediterranean Sea. Adding a second tap to these seas will be the beginning of an irreversible disaster, since the Black Sea will be emptied twice as fast with two taps while the flow rates and capacities of the rivers that feed the Black Sea stay the same.
Besides the problems mentioned above, there is also a high risk “all groundwater reserves will be contaminated by salty water, which is an irreversible process,” says Akgun Ilhan, a water management expert at Sabanci University’s Istanbul Policy Center.
With this project the Turkish government intends to reduce the risk of accidents causing environmental pollution in the passageway of the Bosporus. However, trying to ease this hazard with this canal is short-sighted, and highly irresponsible, as the project is void of any serious environmental or strategic impact assessment.