The adoption of mosquitoes within the occasion of a attainable drought raises illness considerations for Turkey
A likely drought in the coming months is one of the most pressing problems for Turkey as there is no rainfall and a prolonged dry spell. For experts, the risk poses another challenge: mosquitoes. Sinking water levels in dams and small ponds provide fertile soil for mosquito larvae to reproduce.
Professor Levent Kurnaz, director of the Center for Climate Change and Policy at Boğaziçi University in Istanbul, says that if the water levels on dams remain low until summer, the muddy surface exposed by lack of water is an ideal breeding ground for mosquitoes. “Unfortunately, these mosquitoes can trigger rare cases of West Nile virus and Zika and cause malaria prevalence,” he warned.
The situation is particularly bad in Istanbul. The water level in dams fell to 20.93% on Monday, the lowest level in a decade. The expected precipitation in autumn and December remains low. The decrease is significant compared to 34% in the same period last year. The city with more than 15 million inhabitants is the most populous in the country and is trying to balance consumption with falling water levels. The average daily consumption is 2.9 million cubic meters, but the water delivered on Sunday was 2.8 million cubic meters. With no water in dams, the city relies on open-air rivers for water supply rather than large dams to provide the resources.
Kurnaz told the Demirören News Agency (DHA) on Monday that the closer the water level is to the surface, the less it is suitable for consumption. “At some point there will still be small puddles left. The puddles are a good environment for mosquito breeding. This is the most immediate danger for next summer, ”he warned. Temperatures that remain warm despite the onset of winter also increase the risk. “Mosquitoes need a watery surface or still water in order to multiply. You can spend the winter in these areas when the water is not frozen. A worst-case scenario is temperatures that do not drop below zero in Istanbul and other large cities. When mosquitoes spend the winter there, they start breeding in March. With an increase in breeding starting this month, we will see a serious surge in mosquito population. Unfortunately, climate change makes this scenario very likely, ”he noted.
Fatih Dikmen, a scientist from the Institute of Biology in the Faculty of Natural Sciences at Istanbul University, says changes in weather due to climate change can improve sightings of various non-endemic creatures in the country. “In Istanbul we can see more different types of mosquitoes. The drought is creating new microhabitats, ”he said. He offers a solution to the problem: “A marine ecosystem can control this situation. By releasing fish there or using various methods, the mosquito population can be brought under control. “