Environmental issues in Turkey
Turkey hosts more than three thousand endemic plant species, has high diversity of other taxa, and is almost entirely covered by three of the world's thirty-five biodiversity hotspots. "Yet, Turkey's environmental laws and conservation efforts are eroding, not improving. This has precipitated a conservation crisis that has accelerated over the past decade. This crisis has been exacerbated by legislative developments that may leave Turkey with a nature conservation, legal framework that is weakened, and severely out of line with globally accepted principles". The main environmental issues in Turkey are the conservation of biodiversity, air pollution, water pollution, greenhouse gases, and land degradation.
Conservation of biodiversity
"Turkey has a remarkable diversity of wildlife, due to its wide variety of habitats and unique position between three continents and three seas. Ill-considered development projects are threatening biodiversity, but a new wildlife corridor offers hope for further conservation progress." Turkish montane forests face major threats to their genetic diversity associated with over-exploitation, forest fragmentation, air pollution, and global climatic change.
Air pollution is particularly significant in urban areas; the problem is especially acute in Istanbul, Ankara, Erzurum, and Bursa, where the combustion of heating fuels increases particulate density in winter. Especially in Istanbul, increased car ownership causes frequent urban smog conditions. "Air pollution in urban centers, often caused by transport, and the use of small-scale burning of wood or coal, is linked to a range of health problems." "PM10 levels are 36.7 micrograms per cubic meter, much higher than the OECD average of 20.9 micrograms per cubic meter, and the annual guideline limit of 20 micrograms per cubic meter set by the World Health Organization." Although there is some monitoring of air pollution compared with other European countries, many air pollution indicators are not available. Regulations in Turkey do not contain any restrictions on the pollutant PM 2.5, which causes lung diseases. Greenpeace Mediterranean claim that the Afşin-Elbistan coal-fired plant is the power plant with the highest health risk in Europe, followed by the Soma coal-fired power plant, also from Turkey.
Summer temperatures have increased and are expected to continue to increase. Proposed new coal-fired power plants would increase Turkey's CO2 emissions. Turkey is working towards joining the European Union Emission Trading Scheme.
Land degradation is a critical agricultural problem, caused by inappropriate use of agricultural land, overgrazing, or over-fertilization,. Serious soil erosion has occurred in 69% of Turkey’s land surface. A national soil information system is being developed as presently 'it is difficult to assess the levels of land degradation, desertification or soil contamination'.
Green space in cities
- Water supply and sanitation in Turkey
- Polluting Paradise, a 2012 documentary film about the village of Çamburnu, which has been turned into a rubbish dump by the government
- 2013 protests in Turkey, which were sparked by environmental issues
- TEMA Foundation, an environmental organisation
- Biodiversity in Turkey
- Convention on Biological Diversity
- "Çevre Kuruluşları Dayanışma Derneği" environmental organization
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- "AIR POLLUTION AND ISTANBUL; Alarm bells". Heinrich Böll Stiftung.
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- Kahya, Damian (3 May 2013). "E.On looks to build new brown coal in Turkey". Greenpeace. Retrieved 25 December 2015.
... Lignite - or brown coal - is less efficient to burn and has a higher sulpher content. Not only does this mean that it creates more greenhouse gas emissions per unit of power than 'hard coal' ...
- Ministry of Environment and Urban Planning (3 May 2015). Turkey – Market Readiness Proposal (PDF) (Report). Retrieved 25 December 2015.
- "Assesment of Water Pollution in the Tigris River in Diyarbakır, Turkey".
- Alphan, Melis (23 August 2014). "How can we fight against droughts?". Hürriyet Daily News. Doğan Media Group. Retrieved 25 December 2015.
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- European Commission (16 October 2013). Turkey 2013 Progress Report (PDF) (Report). p. 71. SWD(2013) 417 final. Retrieved 25 December 2015.
A stronger political commitment would help to accelerate the alignment with and implementation of the acquis, as well as coordination and cooperation between relevant authorities at all levels.
- Aksogan, Pinar (4 June 2013). "The fight to protect Turkey's green spaces began decades ago". The Guardian. Greenpeace. Retrieved 25 December 2015.