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Coastal Pollution in Turkey

Turkey is surrounded on three sides by the water. (Mediterranean Sea from south, the Black Sea from north and the Aegean Sea from east) Therefore, the protection of coasts is a significant issue for the country since tourism plays a crucial role in the economy. Particularly Mediterranean and Aegean Coasts are hosting many tourists in the summer seasons. Also, Turkey has been chosen second in the world in 2015 with its 436 blue-flagged beaches, based on the cleanliness of them.

Although the country is well rated based on the coasts, there has been an increase in the sea and coastal pollution in the recent years. Some of the main causes of the pollution are: 1. Factories located on the seafront areas and spilling their waste   2. Oil and natural gas pipelines in the sea 3. Heavy ship traffic in the sea 4. Pollution made by humans’ hands because of lack of environmental awareness.

 I would like to point out that the pollution made by people as the industrial plants and other causes can be controlled by the government in some ways. But to make people gain a wide environmental perspective is something not so simple. One of the falsest move is having a picnic or barbecue in the coast as people leave their trash behind in the place where they were. This extremely pollutes the coast and after some time affects the sea. It also influences the tourism sector, as people don’t want to swim in those areas. Last but not least those coasts are home for a high variety of animal and plant species so they are also badly affected by this. The Turkish government is taking precaution against that kind of things such as reporting some news from the coast to the people about the kind of trash they left behind after they had a picnic or barbecue via media. In addition, the British activist living in Turkey, Mick Scarsbrook shot a really effective video speaking in Turkish to point out the pollution people caused in the coast. He shares some advice and some points to take lessons from.

There are already lots of municipalities and NGOs that protect those areas through various actions. An example is the event which is the oldest and biggest volunteer participation in the field of marine and coastal cleanup named International Coastal Cleanup (ICC). ICC is under the aegis of TURMEPA which is known as the International Coastal Cleanup Campaign in Turkey.

I hope to see many more campaigns and people who try to protect our coasts!

Oguzhan Kamberoglu, YEE Intern 2017