Academics have raised the alarm over looming disease threats that could be caused by mosquitos in the summer if officials do not take action on time.
“Water levels in Istanbul dams are low. If it continues like this, there will be big trouble in the summer. When the water ebbs, muddy soils will occur,” said Levent Kurnaz, the head of the Center for Climate Change and Policy Studies at Boğaziçi University.
According to Kurnaz, these muddy places could be a breeding ground for mosquitos that could cause the West Nile or Zika viruses or malaria.
Fatih Dikmen, a biologist from Istanbul University, also warned of new mosquito species.
“We will see some different species due to the ebbing. Some new mosquito species that we have not seen before,” said Dikmen.
“We will witness some new micro-habitats. The mosquitos will be natural carriers of the West Nile or Zika viruses.”
He urged the officials of the city to prepare a combat plan against the mosquitos, carriers of contagious diseases.
According to Kurnaz, the problem surfaced as concerns grow over Istanbul’s warm weather, as it still hasn’t neared zero degrees Celsius.
“Mosquitos leave their eggs on watery environments. If these waters do not freeze in the winter, then these eggs will survive,” said Kurnaz.
“If they survive in the winter because waters are not freezing, then they will reproduce in March. So, we can witness a huge population of mosquitos in the summer,” added Kurnaz.
He also named İzmit, Istanbul’s neighboring province and the western province of İzmir, as potential cities under mosquito threat.
The water levels in the dams of Istanbul have fallen to 20.93 percent in December, while it was 34.02 percent in the same month in 2019.