March Eco-Tidbits from Turkey

istanbul earth hour turkey coal mine photo

The Sabancı Towers in Istanbul (left) went dark for Earth Hour, while coal miners (right) in Turkey continue to face the risk of deadly explosions. Photos via NTVMSBC (L) and by Şafak Tortu (R) via Foto Karadeniz Blog.
Energy issues dominated Turkey's environmental agenda this month as negotiations over the Nabucco natural-gas pipeline moved ahead, and plans for the controversial Ilısu dam project threatened to do the same. But lower-profile developments also hinted at where Turkey might be headed environmentally, news that prompted reactions of "süper" (yep, just like in English, but with an umlaut) and "maalesef" (unfortunately):Süper!
  • The Istanbul district of Kadıköy banned the use of plastic bags, effective March 1, in a move the district mayor said he hopes will influence other parts of the city to do likewise. The local municipality is also working with manufacturers to produce biodegradable bags.

  • The Dutch firm Redevco is building an "environmentally friendly" shopping center in the Turkish city of Edirne; a previous project by the company, a mall in Erzrurum, is BREEAM-certified, generates some of its own on-site energy, and recycles waste heat in its heating and cooling system.

  • A new plant gene and seed bank has finally opened in the Turkish capital city of Ankara to help protect the country's biological diversity.

  • The lights on the Bosphorus Bridge spanning Istanbul's European and Asian sides were among thousands shut off in Turkey for the worldwide Earth Hour on March 27.

  • More than 30,000 workers in Turkey's underground mines are at high or medium risk of experiencing explosions in their workplaces, according to a "mine risk map" created by the Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects (TMMOB), which says it unsuccessfully tried to warn the Ministry of Energy about the risks facing two mines in the Turkish city of Bursa, where 33 workers were killed in blasts earlier this year. A representative of the country's General Mining Union says independent inspections are "impossible" due to widespread bribery.

  • Though Turkey has not been short on rainfall over the past few years, it still faces chronic and serious risks of water shortages due to poor management, the environmental group TEMA (Turkish Foundation for Reforestation, Protection of Natural Habitats and Combating Soil Erosion) said in a statement for World Water Day. According to WWF, if Turkey's estimated current population of nearly 77 million reaches 80 million by 2030, the amount of annual per-capita water consumption required would "spark a severe water crisis."

Previous wrap-ups of Turkish environmental news:
February 2010 Eco-Tidbits from Turkey
January 2010 Eco-Tidbits from Turkey
December 2009 Eco-Tidbits from Turkey
November 2009 Eco-Tidbits from Turkey
October 2009 Eco-Tidbits from Turkey
September 2009 Eco-Tidbits from Turkey

Related Content on