A Great Threat For Our Future: Deterioration Of Water Quality

Providing world’s increasing demand of water sufficiently and safely is one of the biggest problems of 21th century. We talked to the Dean of Istanbul University Faculty of Fisheries Prof. Dr. Meriç Albay about water supply conditions in our country and the studies carried out in Faculty of Fisheries.

IU Faculty of Fisheries Dean Prof. Dr. Meriç Albay indicated that the management and the usage of water is very important in terms of protecting the water supplies and stated that the quality of these sources are decreasing each passing year. He said that “budget-based management” has been abandoned and “eco-system based management” has been employed. Mentioning that this would affect the water supplies positively in the long run, Prof. Albay emphasized that it takes a great number of aquaculture engineer for the effective management of the water sources.

Istanbul University Faculty of Fisheries comes forward as one of the most publishing academic departments despite having few academic staff. Prof. Albay said “We are very good at the number of projects and articles per capita. We are currently carrying out projects and researches to determine the quality of water and the variety of aquatic organisms as well as to benefit from the water sources at the maximum level, in the areas of potable water sources, lakes, seas and oceans.”

“We have the only laboratory in Turkey carrying out measurements of Cyanotoxins”

Indicating that they have the only laboratory in Turkey that measures the quantity of cyanobacteria and cyanotoxins in potable water sources, lakes and coastal waters, Prof. Dr. Albay emphasized  that they are one of the authorized laboratories in Turkey carrying out efficiency tests about the biocidal products on alga that emerge in the swimming pools and said “Both the Ministry of Forestry and Water Affairs and the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization give us big-budget projects with added value. We are currently carrying out studies on approximately 20 areas within these projects.”

Stating that the projects carried out in laboratory of Faculty of Fisheries also provide information about the conditions of the quality of drinking and swimming waters, Prof. Dr. Albay said “We will finish the projects in about 5 or 6 months. In addition to that, we also have some Ministry projects in which we collaborate with TUBITAK (The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey). These projects present us with lots of details about the fact that our water supplies do not create any problems in terms of being used as swimming water and agricultural water. There is pretty much no parameter we cannot evaluate at this point.”

Prof. Dr. Albay also said “There has been various high-profile R&D projects carried out in our laboratories including one developing microchips used in determining the pathogens and one that is provided from the European Union.

“We should think about our country while using the water”

Mentioning the importance of the management of the water, Prof. Dr. Albay said “For whatever purpose you are using the water, you need to think about the aquatic ecosystem. Our country acts as a bridge between the two continents and geographically holds a great importance in terms of biological diversity. Carrying this heritage into the future is very important. We graduate Aquaculture Engineers whom are our previously graduated students with this conscious and fund of knowledge. We train people equipped with not only project based but also in the meaning of the proper use of human resources.

Prof. Albay, who says that in the recent years IU Faculty of Fisheries breaks through about fish farming in a competitive way with our country and the world, said that any other sector did not develop as quick as this. This was Faculty of Fisheries’ success. He said: “One of the products that is the richest in protein is fish. We want this precious product to be more consumed. North African Countries consume fish more than us. There is a fish consumption around 4-5 kg. It is not proper for a modern country like us. We should change from a society consuming mostly carbohydrate to a society consuming fisheries and eating healthily. I think this will be soon.”

Prof. Dr. Albay, saying that it is the true decision to choose Faculty of Fisheries for the students who are interested in aquatic things, expressed: “I wait the student preparing for the university exam and who are interested in water, sea world and aquatic life to our faculty. I think, aquaculture engineers and graduated ones having a fund of aquatic knowledge in not only our country but also world will have a good future. Getting to know aquatic world is a privilege and we ask for discovering it with willing ones.”

“Population Pressure Causes Troubles at Barrages”

Prof. Dr. Albay, by implying that population pressure around İstanbul started to cause serious troubles at drinking water barrages, said that İznik, Sapanca, Manyas lakes, which are located in close circle, were under a serious people pressure. We were about to lose these regions that are world heritages. Another threat was the climatic reasons which are effective on water resources. Our country had no longer got enough snow. The thread in our inland waters was increasing year by year. This situation caused a thread for a lot of fish, bird and plant species living in aquatic ecosystems. There was also a thread to lose them. Thus, our country needed Aquaculture Engineers. Controlling of our barrages, wetlands and lakes in a proper way perhaps would be one of the most important tasks in Turkey in future years.

“We Are Mapping Turkey’s Water Quality”

Prof. Dr. Albay, stating that they are working on an important project which is supported by the Ministry of Forestry and Water Affairs, said: “ The problem of cyanotoxin seen in drinking and bathing water is a serious thread. These are metabolites which can harm to aquatic creatures and agricultural products in case they are used in agriculture. We are mapping Turkey’s water quality associated with it. We are evaluating the extent of thread in water sources. Unfortunately, in our country, cyanobacteria and production of cyanotoxins in waters are increasing year by year due to the climatic reasons and agricultural pollutants. We are evaluating the extent of the problem by reviewing threads and lakes. The Ministry of Forestry and Water Affairs shares this project with our university. We are so glad to run this project.”

Translated by: Eda AYDEMİR- İrem YAŞAR

IU Press and Public Relations Department


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