With cleaning work nearing its end, Istanbul's Kurbağalıdere, a creek once notorious for its pollution, welcomes back its old habitants: Fish.
The creek straddling the seaside districts of the city's Asian side, has raised concerns among locals as black bubbles, due to accumulated methane gas stemming from pollution, pervaded the creek, which flows into the sea. Following a public outcry, Istanbul Municipality started cleaning work in July in the creek that literally means Frog Creek but lacked frogs and fish due to heavy pollution.
With its surface and bottom cleaned, the fish returned to the creek, which is a landmark of the Kadıköy district. Businesses on the banks of the creek are also enjoying a return to the good old days. Erdal Karabacak, who works at a restaurant on the banks of the creek, says customers are back with the stench emitted from Kurbağalıdere gone. Mert Güntunca, who enjoyed bike trips along the creek's banks, said he resumed his trips after the cleaning.
The creek, stretching through Kadıköy's upscale Moda and Kalamış neighborhoods were emitting black bubbles and an unbearable stench due to raw sewage pervading the stream before the cleaning work. Municipality crews had siphoned off polluted water from the bottom of the creek and diverted the water to a water treatment facility while garbage boats cleaned solid waste permeating the creek.
The narrow width of the creek contributes to the pollution, as wastewater and rainwater often exceed its capacity, and the prevalence of historical sites and high expropriation costs of properties on the banks of the creek hinders massive recovery work for keeping the creek clean.