June Eco-Tidbits from Turkey
Life usually slows down a bit for the summer in Istanbul, as the rise in temperatures and influx of tourists drive people away to the beach, or at least up to rooftop terraces or out to their stoops to while away the muggy days. But things are still popping on the environmental front as we once again wrap up some of the month's eco-news from Turkey, developments that prompted reactions of both "süper" (yep, just like in English, but with an umlaut) and "maalesef" (unfortunately):Süper!
- A biogas energy plant that converts chicken poop into electricity and heat is in the works for the central province of Afyonkarahisar, home to 7 million chickens. The plant will meet 4 percent of the city's electricity needs while also creating heat and both solid and liquid fertilizer.
- The Aegean city of İzmir and the nautical-sciences institute at a local university have agreed on a plan to deepen the İzmir Gulf to improve water circulation, a move that should lead to cleaner water and a higher species diversity in the area. As an added bonus, they'll probably discover some sunken ships too.
- Builders broke ground on a partially solar-powered housing complex in Istanbul. Called SolarKent (Solar City), the building will generate electricity from panels on rooftops and parking spaces, reducing power bills and the risk of blackouts, a common problem in the city. Water tanks on each residential tower will also collect rainwater.
- Turkey and Austria have agreed to exchange scientific research results and pursue joint projects that will help fight global warming.
- A sixth-grade participant in a recycling campaign organized by the city of İzmir has collected 2,215 kilograms of used batteries from local shop owners and neighbors over the last four years.
- Despite heavy winter rainfall, Turkey still faces water shortages due to increased consumption, low availability of water-efficient fixtures, evaporation from reservoirs, and the inefficient surface irrigation methods used by most farmers.
- The city of Istanbul raised transit fares 15 percent--and forgot to tell anyone, creating confusion among passengers.
- The Turkish government is forging ahead with plans to build the controversial Ilısu Dam, despite opposition from environmentalists and local residents and the suspending of funds from European credit agencies over ecological, human-rights, and historic-preservation concerns.
- Turkish and Iranian military strikes in the border regions of northern Iraq have reportedly burned down almost 150 acres of forests.
- The Bosphorus Bridge connecting the European and Asian sides of Istanbul remains congested despite the opening of a new metrobus line across the span in March. Private vehicles using the bridge actually jumped from 4.6 million in February to 5.4 million in May.