İzmir joins WWF's fight against plastic pollution
The mayor of the city signed a letter of intent with WWF which has docked its Blue Panda sailboat off the city's coast to mobilize people against plastic pollution.
Tunç Soyer in his speech said he was glad to host the sailboat.
"Pollution is a great threat for us as well, it destroys the future of all living things," Soyer told the signing ceremony.
He said that İzmir will join a "plastic waste-free cities" network to pioneer the prevention of plastic pollution in the seas.
He said İzmir with its 4.3 million population is facing a huge pollution problem.
"Events such as these sometimes seem like a small step yet, in fact, they mean a lot for humanity which is what fight against plastic is about," Soyer told Anadolu Agency.
"We consume plastics every day and we are not even aware of it and this means we are destroying ourselves. That is why we want to improve awareness and reduce its consumption and get rid of it."
WWF stated that the Aegean coast has a record-level of plastic contamination in which each kilometer/mile of its coast receives 7.2 kg (15.8 lbs) of plastic debris every day, more than the average in the Mediterranean which is 5kg per km (11 lbs/miles) in a day.
Turkey's WWF chairman Uğur Bayar said that he was excited to be in a partnership with İzmir.
“Today, about 80% of the plastic waste in the seas is sourced from the land; most of it is transported from urban areas to seas by rivers.
"Regarding that cities will grow to accommodate two-thirds of the global population by 2050, cities like İzmir should continue to adopt such smart solutions," Bayar said in his speech.
He noted that the issue can only be solved with the cooperation and coordination of the government, producers, local administrations, non-governmental organizations and environmentally conscious citizens.
"In order to prevent eight million tons of plastic waste entering the seas worldwide every year, new policies should be developed, new incentives for the production sector should be introduced and on the consumption side, new creative models should be adopted for avoiding plastics, reducing plastic usage, increasing reuse and effective waste management," the WWF statement said.
"İzmir has agreed that its annual progress on this matter be monitored and reported by signing the letter of content," it added.
Among all Mediterranean countries, Turkey is number one in terms of being affected by plastic pollution in the Mediterranean Sea.
WWF stated that the main reasons for plastic pollution are tourism and recreational activities and insufficient recycling.