August 19, 2014

Pollution Threatens Iconic Istanbul Waterways

Istanbul is surrounded by water on all sides, including the Marmara Sea to the south, home to important fishing grounds and sailing competitions. The Bosphorus Strait splits the city into its European and Asian districts, and is the passage through which dozens of fish species annually migrate north to the Black Sea to spawn. 

A clean and healthy water system is crucial to Istanbul's tourism industry. The city was the world's sixth most-visited last year, with visitors contributing $8.6bn to the local economy. Tourists come to spot dolphins and view ancient ruins on boat trips along the Bosphorus, while the image of dozens of fishermen lining the Galata Bridge is one of Istanbul's most defining scenes. 

But pollution of Istanbul's waterways could pose a serious threat to this historic city's lifeblood. With the population exploding in recent decades - from 1.5 million in 1960 to around 14 million today - future visitors may see more sewage and litter along the city's waterways, experts say.


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