Known as Turkey’s Maldives, the lake Salda, located in southwestern Burdur province, is one of the deepest lakes in Turkey and, with its white beach and clear water, among the most important attractions for tourists in recent years. Faced with the threat of pollution due to the number of visitors and irregular structures, however, negative effects on the lake have been generated. And if pollution continues at its current rate, the lake could lose some of its distinctive features.
The Turkish Environment and Urbanization Ministry is continuing its efforts to protect Lake Salda by eliminating, one by one, these adverse effects on the lake. Wooden barriers erected 500 meters (1,640 feet) behind the lake prevent vehicles from passing along the lake shore. The irregular structures were removed and garbage is regularly being collected in the area. All kinds of illegal temporary structures, tents and container-type buildings were also removed.
Thanks to the protection measures taken in and around the lake, the water quality has increased to drinking water quality. In addition, the area of Salda Lake Nature Park, which spanned 120 acres (48.5 hectares), was expanded to 570 acres (230.6 hectares) last year.
Non-governmental organizations and universities have begun carrying out research on biodiversity in and around Lake Salda. According to the results of these studies, it is also planned to gradually limit access to the White Islands section and stepping on the sand.
In order to protect the natural structure of Lake Salda, mud baths will not be allowed in the White Islands and public beach areas, and removing clay and sand from the bottom of the lake and the beach will be prohibited. Using cosmetic products such as shampoo and soap in the lake and shower areas, consuming food and beverages, setting up sun beds and tents and having picnics will not be allowed in the area.
The ministry also prohibited smoking at Lake Salda where the white sands are located. The security of the lake and White Islands is provided by the gendarmerie forces and police teams. No vehicles are allowed in the area until all the litter is cleared. A commission under the Burdur governorship inspects the area twice a week.
Last year, the Environment and Urbanization Ministry declared Lake Salda a ‘Special Environmental Protection Area’. It was declared a first and second degree Natural Protected Area in 1989. The previous regulation increased the special protection area from 10,900 acres (4,411 hectares) to 73,000 acres (29,542 hectares). The natural site area is 21,000 acres (8,498 hectares), where it had previously been 14,500 acres (5,867 hectares).
The actions are an effort to protect the natural beauty of Lake Salda and prevent it from suffering human-induced negative impacts. The coastline of the lake has also been put under protection to prevent the natural and cultural fabric of the area from being damaged. With the lake declared a special protected area, research will begin on 301 aquatic and terrestrial plant species belonging to 61 families.
Note: Adapted from the article “Turkey to protect Lake Salda with new regulations” published by Anadolu agency.