Not in my backyard: groups across Turkey unite against pollution from fossil fuel power plants.
Over the past few decades, dozens of local environmental groups have sprouted across Turkey, united by a single goal: dissuading the government from allowing energy companies to build fossil-fuel-fired power plants near their homes. In the Marmara Sea resort region of Yalova, for example, the Yalova Environmental Platform held a press conference to protest the construction of a local coal-fired plant — and was promptly sued by the company who wanted to build it. In the Black Sea town of Gerze, the Green Gerze Environmental Platform held a “Meeting for Climate Justice” last November, to raise awareness about the coal-fired plant that may soon be built near the town, and the threat that dirty fuels pose to the climate.
These local opposition platforms had remained separate, only focusing on the plants that might appear in their own backyards.
But after a March 5 meeting in Ankara, Turkey’s capital, these groups have emerged united, for the first time, under the name “Anadolu Kararmayacak Girişimi”, or “Anatolia Won’t Be Blackened”. The coalition so far comprises 15 regional groups, from cities and towns all over Turkey.
The groups’ announcement (in Turkish) demands that “thermal power plant projects involving all fossil fuels, such as coal, gas, and oil, be withdrawn.”
About sixty such plants are currently under construction. These plants will inflict “unprecedented destruction of our land,” continues the announcement, which was issued on March 10.
Turkey has accepted international agreements such as the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto and Irena Protocols, which reject fossil fuels for energy production in favor of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. We call on the government to comply with these agreements.
In localities already cursed by the presence of coal-fired plants, cancer rates have spiked, toxic coal ash has contaminated the air and water, and the livelihoods of local farmers and fishermen have collapsed. Although power companies are required to submit an environmental impact assessment report for each proposed plant to the state’s Energy Market Regulatory Authority, the commission rarely rejects a company’s proposal to build, instead bowing to the booming demand for energy in Turkey.
But the newly united Turkish anti-fossil fuel league may succeed where dispersed local opposition has not.
Read more environment news from Turkey:
Dam Victor for Turkey’s Environmentalists
Turkey: The World’s Most Environmentally-Friendly Country? Maybe, With Water
Planning of Ancient Roman Spa in Turkey Shows Disregard for Archeological Sites
Turkey Plays the Environment Card to Gain EU Favor and Status
Top image via honzasoukup
Lower image via david55king