Turkey among 20 countries ‘responsible for bad plastic waste management in the world’
ISTANBUL – Doğan News Agency
Turkey is among the 20 countries responsible for 83 percent of the bad plastic waste management in the world, Turkish Marine Research Foundation (TÜDAV) head Prof. Dr. Bayram Öztürk has said, adding that microplastic pollution of the marine environment is of increasing concern to human health, as microplastics have even been observed in the cities' water supplies.
“Microplastics are the name given to particles measuring less than five millimeters, which have materialized as a result of big plastic pieces’ crumbling by rubbing against each other, decaying with sun light and bacteria eating away at them. The decomposition of plastics in sea water takes years. And these decomposed chemicals end up in the human body with the food chain,” Öztürk told daily Hürriyet.
The professor also pointed out that sea animals such as dolphins, whales, and sea birds choke to death once they take these microplastics into their mouth, mistaking them for food.
“We first need to put an effort into separating waste according to their sorts in order to reduce plastics, which have been increasing in our seas at a rate of 20 percent every year. Apart from that, it is a must for the plastics in the seas to be decreased,” he said.
“But there are things that should be done at a personal level. Let us reduce plastic use and consumption in our daily lives. Let us try to use glass or recycling materials. The decision is ours: We will either leave a clean and healthy marine ecosystem for the next generations or swim in plastic wastes, trash bags and nylons,” he said.
Öztürk has also called on the Turkish authorities to more strictly regulate the MARPOL 73/78 Convention, whose purpose is to prevent the release of wastes stemming from the normal activities of ships to the marine environment.