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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The main Environmental issues in Turkey are:

  • water pollution from the dumping of chemicals and detergents;
  • air pollution, particularly in urban areas;
  • deforestation;
  • the potential for spills from the 5,000 oil- and gas-carrying ships that pass through the Bosporus annually.

Turkey's most pressing needs are for water treatment plants, wastewater treatment facilities, solid waste management, and the conservation of biodiversity. The release of pollutants by neighboring countries has critically contaminated the Black Sea, and multinational cooperation has not adequately addressed the problem. Air pollution has accelerated since rapid economic growth began in the mid-1990s. The problem is especially acute in Istanbul, Ankara, Erzurum, and Bursa, where the combustion of heating fuels increases particulate density in winter. Especially in Istanbul, increased car ownership and the slow development of public transportation cause frequent urban smog conditions. Mandatory use of unleaded gas was scheduled to begin only in January 2006. Industrial air pollution comes mainly from power plants and the metallurgy, cement, sugar, and fertilizer industries, a large percentage of which lack filtration equipment. Land degradation is a critical agricultural problem, caused by inappropriate use of agricultural land, overgrazing, over-fertilization, and deforestation. Serious soil erosion has occurred in 69% of Turkey’s land surface. According to one estimate, Turkey loses 1 billion tons of topsoil annually. Large areas of Turkey are prone to major earthquakes. The establishment of the Ministry of Environment in 1991 accelerated progress on some environmental problems such as urban air pollution. In the early 2000s, prospective membership in the European Union (EU) spurred the updating of some environmental legislation. However, in 2003 the merger of the Ministry of Environment with the Ministry of Forestry reduced the influence of environmental officials in policy making, and enforcement procedures (such as those regulating traffic through the Bosporus) are considered weak. In general, private firms have responded more fully to environmental regulation than state owned enterprises, which still constitute a large percentage of Turkey’s economy.

See also

PD-icon.svg This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Library of Congress Country Studies.

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