May 10, 2014, Saturday/ 18:07:30/ GÜRHAN SAVGI/ ISTANBUL
İstanbul's third airport under construction in the northern part of the city will cause widespread deaths among migratory birds, as it will be located on part of a perilous route for birds seeking to reach Europe from Africa, officials from BirdLife International have warned.
The $30 billion airport to the north of İstanbul is being constructed in a forest and wetland area. However, this region is used as a resting place by migrant birds travelling between Europe and Africa. The birds rest and feed there and then continue their journey. If the government doesn't abandon its insistence on constructing the airport, despite all the warnings from environmentalists who are concerned about the negative impacts the airport might have on the natural environment of this forested location, an important migratory route for billions of birds will be blocked. If this happens, İstanbul's third airport will be responsible for a massive number of migratory birds' deaths.
A warning has been issued by Middle East and Eurasia representatives of BirdLife International -- the world's largest nature conservation network -- regarding the possible negative effects of the third airport on migratory birds. On examining the Bosporus Strait and the region where the third airport is being constructed, the representatives have come to a consensus that the airport will put large numbers of migrating birds at risk.
BirdLife International works in cooperation with civil society organizations in 180 countries around the world. It is highly respected in terms of nature protection through its influential activities in the world. It prepares the most reliable lists of endangered species in cooperation with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
The president of the nature conservation network, Hazell Thompson, told Sunday's Zaman that the birds, which know no limits, migrate between continents and serve as a source of balance in nature, adding: “They take the overbreeding of animals such as insects, caterpillars and mites under control. By scattering seeds and pollen around, they contribute to the production of plants such as cereals, vegetables and fruits, which are of great importance for people. We can say that when birds flap their wings less, people have less food and face various problems, such as disease. Anything that is good for birds is also good for people.”