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Experts warn of desertification risk due to climate change-related drought – Anadolu Agency | English

EDIRNE, Türkiye 

There is a need for big changes in habits on a global scale from production to water use against the effects of global warming as the risks of desertification increase due to climate change-related drought, according to Turkish experts. 

Speaking to Anadolu Agency for World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought, experts highlighted increasing threats of climate change-related events on a sustainable environment.

Observed June 17 each year, the UN observance day focuses on changing public attitudes to the leading driver of desertification and land degradation.

Mehmet Ali Kaya, head of the Natural Disaster Management Application and Research Center at Trakya University in Türkiye’s northwestern Edirne province, said the risk of desertification has recently become more visible.

“Climate change may cause huge movement of people like it was during the Migration Period. Human beings are polluting nature and the air, increasing carbon dioxide emissions in the air,” he said.

The world is now at a tipping point, however, said Kaya, who underlined that it does not seem possible for the world to find an immediate solution to prevent desertification.

“We have to use our water resources very carefully, this is the issue we need to focus on,” he said, adding drought is accompanied by desertification, among dozens of events that are triggered by global climate change.  

Drought, pollution threaten freshwater resources

Belgin Elipek, head of the hydrobiology department at the school, noted that freshwater resources such as lakes, dams, rivers and streams are dramatically affected by drought.

“A significant percentage of freshwater resources are already affected by pollution,” she said, with the effects of drought, our use of the crucial resources remains much more minimal.

Pointing out that a significant part of freshwater resources is used in agriculture, Elipek said production systems should be reviewed to economically use water.

“One of the most important factors here is deforestation,” she said. “In deforested areas, the ecosystem balances are disturbed and this can increase desertification to high levels as well.”

She said the increase in atmospheric temperature accelerates evaporation and the power of storms allow even more water to evaporate from the soil.

“These are all interrelated processes. We cannot prevent the extremes caused by global climate change, but we should try to get through the dry periods with simple savings,” Elipek said, referring to protecting water resources.

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