OECD Head: Turkish Environment Can Benefit from Financial Crisis

kanyon mall istanbul turkey photo

Unsustainable consumption levels pose a problem for Turkey, the OECD says. Photograph of Kanyon Mall by dysturb via flickr.

Visiting Turkey this week, Angel Gurría, secretary-general of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), praised the country for its strong economic growth and environmental advances, but warned that the global financial crisis should not be used as an excuse to impede further progress. "The crisis will perhaps last 18 months but the environmental problems and climate change will affect humanity for even longer," Gurría said. "The crisis actually offers good opportunities."In its second assessment of the country, Environmental Performance Review: Turkey, the OECD addresses progress, problems, and prescriptions.

The good news:

  • Compared to other OECD countries, Turkey has high levels of biodiversity and a relatively low level of greenhouse-gas emissions per person
  • Turkey is working to combat soil erosion and has increased its forested areas to 27.2 percent of the country
  • The country's environmental legislation is slowly coming in line with that of the European Union
  • Solar energy is commonly used for heat
  • Some measures are being taken to reduce pollution from coal-fired power plants and motor vehicles

The bad news:

  • Turkey's environmental infrastructure is insufficient
  • There is still a lot of pollution from agriculture, energy, and transportation, some of which is encouraged by subsidies in those sectors
  • The country's biodiversity is under threat
  • Road traffic (and thus, air pollution) has increased
  • Half of industrial wastewater, containing mercury, lead, chromium, zinc, and other toxins, is still being discharged untreated into rivers and coastal waters
  • Patterns of production and consumption are unsustainable

Get the recommendations on page 2

Related Content on Treehugger.com