4,000 cubic meters of waste removed from Bosphorus Strait in one month
ISTANBUL - Demirören News Agency
Some 4,000 cubic meters of solid waste have been removed from the Bosphorus Strait in Istanbul over the past month.
“This amount is approximately the size of garbage waste that can fill the surface of four football fields,” said Fatih Polat Timur, the director of Istanbul Municipality’s department fighting maritime pollution.
Nine boats designed by the Istanbul municipality regularly clean the Bosphorus – one of the world’s most strategic waterways, connecting the Black Sea to the Mediterranean and dividing Istanbul into two continents.
These boats, built at the Tuzla Shipyard, set sail in the Bosphorus with 186 personnel onboard. The boats collect on average 110 cubic meters of garbage a day, in the sea and off the coast.
This number corresponds to 3,500-4,000 cubic meters of garbage per month.
“Items such as mobile phones, computers, tablets, armchairs, beds, televisions, and motorcycles have come out of the sea. We have opened an exhibition displaying these. We have shown them to our citizens at the Eminönü Square,” Timur said.
“Plastic wastes are especially the biggest threat. A plastic bottle does not dissolve in nature for about 1,000 years. And this negatively affects the ecological balance and maritime life in the sea. There are [fish] hunting practices carried out illegally, not in line with the rules. And there are plastic [fishing] nets left into the sea,” Timur said.
Timur also pointed out that changes in the environmental law have recently been undertaken in Turkey.
“The punitive sanctions in Article 20 of the Environmental Law regarding the contamination of the marine vessels have been seriously increased. These penalties have increased up to 12 times. They [such marine vessels] need to be much more careful from now on,” Timur said.
The official said their department has been also giving some trainings at the schools regarding the importance of sea cleanliness. “In 2017, as the marine services directorate, we launched such works and we have so far reached approximately 5,000 students and given them seminars. We have told them that seas should be contaminated, about the damages the garbage cause in the seas and the damages eventually to the ecological balance. Our target this year is to reach 10,000 students,” Timur said.
“There is something we say all the time. Not to contaminate is cheaper than to clean. There is also garbage which is not thrown/dumped in the sea, but find themselves in the sea due to winds and rains. Our citizens also need to be careful regarding this area,” he said.