Activists gather against plunder in Black Sea’s unique natural areas
Around 5,000 people gathered over the weekend to denounce the damage to nature caused by energy projects across the Black Sea region. DHA PhotoAround 5,000 people gathered in the northern city of Trabzon over the weekend to denounce the damage to nature caused by energy projects across the Black Sea, which receive the government’s blessing.
Many locals along the coast are currently involved in legal battles against the dozens of small hydroelectric plants (HES) on water sources that constitute a major danger for ecosystems. Many other projects in the area, such as cyanide gold mining, stone quarrying and cement plants are also pending.
The Brotherhood of the Rivers Platform (Derelerin Kardeşliği Paltformu), a local NGO that has been particularly vocal against hydroelectric plants, slammed the government for helping companies seeking to profit from natural ruination by constructing energy or mining facilities.
“The attacks of local and foreign companies are not limited to our water streams. They have now set their eyes on our uplands, meadows, forests and underground resources,” said Ömer Şan, a spokesman for the platform.
“This struggle is our mission. The one who doesn’t stand for his water, his land, his air, his upland and his bread will not stand for his nation. He will not stand for his freedom and independence,” Şan added.
He also argued that the new so-called “green highway” project, which is planned to link the isolated uplands in the eastern Black Sea region by road, would lead to more destruction in the region.
“Calling the project a ‘green road’ or the ‘road to heaven’ is a way to make it look cute for locals. But this project will put all assets, both above and under the ground, to the orders of pro-government companies,” he said.
Participants at the Trabzon rally held banners reading, “From Gezi to Soma and from Kobane to the Black Sea we stand for nature, labor and humanity,” “Rivers are free and will flow free,” and “Our rivers and forests are not for sale.”
The spree of hydroelectric plant constructions in the Black Sea has prompted a simultaneous rise in local activism. Many of the projects are currently involved in legal processes, while many others have been suspended by courts. Activists often criticize the government for approving incomplete and unconvincing environmental impact assessment reports (ÇED) prepared by the construction firms themselves.