Life in İzmir’s gulf improving for sea creatures

As the cleaning process continues in the İzmir Gulf thanks to investments from the İzmir Metropolitan Municipality, some of the area’s former residents have begun returning home. Photos taken to determine what life lay underground revealed that many ocean dwellers, including starfish, seahorses, shrimps and fish have returned to the sea. 

With the increase in the rate of dissolved oxygen there has been a significant increase in the number of sea creatures living in the gulf, which once functioned as an open sewer system until the 2000s. 

The photos of gulf’s underground, taken in five different locations, including Narlıdere Southwest Treatment of Wastewater Facility, İnciraltı Sahilevleri, Konak, Urla and Bostanlı ports, have boosted the morale of İzmir Metropolitan Municipality officials, who’ve been closely following changes in the gulf thanks to the scientific works of Dokuz Eylül University’s (DEU) Marine Sciences and Technology Institute after lobbying big environmental investments. 

The 2012 report prepared by the university clearly stated what progress had been made in the Gulf. According to the report, the water quality of the gulf has progressed sharply, bringing with it an increase in the biological variety and population found in the sea. 

As part of the project, the DEU Marine Sciences and Technology Institute had been monitoring the change of the underwater creatures for the last two years, DEU Marine Sciences and Technology Institute project coordinator, Professor Filiz Küçüksezgin said. «We have been monitoring the biological situation of the İzmir Gulf since 1996. We take samples in all four seasons. We also measure the heavy metal rate in the sea once a year», – Küçüksezgin said. 

The İzmir Directorate General of the Water and Sewage System’s (İZSU) General Manager Ahmet Alpaslan said they’ve been carrying out the Big Gulf Project to prevent shoaling in the north of the gulf and to increase water circulation there. «We will establish a circulation channel in the north side and provide the flow of clean water into the gulf. The rate of fish and sea creatures has increased in the gulf at the moment. Our goal is to make the gulf clean enough to swim», – he said.