June Eco-Tidbits from Turkey

sultanahmet square pearl mullet turkey photo

The area in front of Istanbul's famous Hagia Sophia (L) will be pedestrianized, while pearl mullet (R) are still being caught illegally in Van. Photos by Михал Орела (left) and the Hürriyet Daily News (right).

People passing down Istanbul's busy İstiklal Caddesi this month had the chance to get a powerful glimpse at the impacts of climate change thanks to an outdoor exhibition of documentary photos from around the world. But weird weather right here at home -- heavy rainfall and massive thunderstorms when it's usually sunny and sweltering -- also reminded local residents of the increasing unpredictability of our planet's systems. Such changes were affected in ways large and small by this month's environmental developments, news that prompted reactions of "süper" (yep, just like in English, but with an umlaut) and "maalesef" (unfortunately):Süper!

  • The squares holding two of Istanbul's key attractions, Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque, have been permanently closed to traffic, as have surrounding streets, creating a pedestrian oasis in a traffic-clogged city.

  • International volunteers are learning organic farming techniques from farmers in the eastern Turkish province of Erzurum thanks for a program organized by local agricultural producers.

  • Victims of dam projects in more than 50 regions of Turkey came together in the capital to protest the policies of Environment Minister Veysel Eroğlu, who they say has pushed through hundreds of hydroelectric-power-plant projects "with no consideration [for] rural issues and the environment."

  • Pollution in Azap Lake, near the Aegean city of Aydin, has created fast-growing blooms of blue-green algae that threaten to smother the body of water. Many species living in the lake have already died out, and people are being warned not to drink from it or fish in it.

  • The pearl mullet, an endemic species found only in eastern Turkey's Lake Van, is still being fished illegally despite laws to protect it. Experts say local officials' recent confiscation of 32.5 tons of illegally caught mullet shows the current fines do not serve as a deterrent.

  • Two workers died and three were injured when a section of a dam under construction collapsed in the eastern province of Batman.

  • Taxi drivers in Istanbul are protesting a new shuttle-bus system for ferry passengers, saying the improvement in transit links takes business away from them.

Previous wrap-ups of Turkish environmental news:
May Eco-Tidbits from Turkey
April Eco-Tidbits from Turkey
March Eco-Tidbits from Turkey
February 2010 Eco-Tidbits from Turkey
January 2010 Eco-Tidbits from Turkey
December 2009 Eco-Tidbits from Turkey

June Eco-Tidbits from Turkey
People passing down Istanbul's busy

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