September Eco-Tidbits from Turkey
Just like clockwork, as soon as the mercury dropped, the action picked up, with controversy growing over the Ilısu Dam, the third Bosphorus bridge, and fish farms in İzmir. October already promises to start off with a bang, as the Turkish Green Party is calling for 2 million Istanbul residents to gather Oct. 2 along the shores of the Bosphorus to protest construction of the third bridge, which activists say will require cutting down 2 million trees. But there was also quite a lot of good news this month, as you'll seen as we once again wrap up the environmental developments that prompted reactions of "süper" (yep, just like in English, but with an umlaut) and "maalesef" (unfortunately):Süper!
- Citizen pressure in the Aegean town of Alaçatı has forced officials to protect 285 striped-neck terrapin turtles that were struggling for survival in a dry creek bed. The fresh-water turtles were moved one by one to a healthier pond in the area.
- New wind-power plants are in the works in the southern province of Mersin and the northwestern province of Balıkesir. The two projects will generate enough electricity between them for 155,000 people.
- The Turkish Petroleum Industry Association has started a project to recycle used motor oil and has pledged to plant one tree for each barrel of oil collected.
- Officials in a small town in southwestern Turkey have launched an initiative to grow Peygamber Çiçeği (Centaurea Mykalea), or "Prophet flowers," in order to help protect the endemic plant from extinction.
- Injured wild birds treated at a veterinary school in Istanbul have been released back into nature at a reserve in the district of Polonezköy.
- Students and teachers from Ege University are promoting cycling and a cleaner world by traveling 6,000 kilometers by bike through 36 of Turkey's provinces.
- Officials in the Istanbul district of Esenler welcomed the new school year by giving out 300,000 free notebooks made of recycled paper, a bright spot amid an overall lack of awareness about recycling.
- Forest fires since the beginning of the year did significantly less damage to Turkish lands than fires in the same period of 2009 thanks to improved response times and preventative measures.
- Polluted waters around the rapidly growing city are killing fish or causing them to seek out cleaner waters, Istanbul fishermen say, adding that marine construction projects are also destroying fish habitat and reducing their catches.
- ExxonMobil is building a massive oil platform to search for oil off the Turkish Black Sea coast starting in the first half of 2011, compounding fears of a devastating spill occurring in the area.
- Off-road-vehicle tours of Turkey's "fairy chimneys" are damaging the unique natural environment of Cappadocia, environmentalists say, calling for local officials to put an end to the trips.
- Despite evidence that more roads just mean more traffic, Turkey has launched its largest-ever highway project, a $11 billion effort to provide a quicker link between Istanbul and the Aegean city of İzmir.
Previous wrap-ups of Turkish environmental news:
August Eco-Tidbits from Turkey
July 2010 Eco-Tidbits from Turkey
June 2010 Eco-Tidbits from Turkey
May 2010 Eco-Tidbits from Turkey
April 2010 Eco-Tidbits from Turkey
March 2010 Eco-Tidbits from Turkey