Sand mining plan off Turkey's Kıyıköy village scrapped following warnings

Sand mining plan off Turkey's Kıyıköy village scrapped following warnings

Aysel Alp – ISTANBUL
Sand mining plan off Turkeys Kıyıköy village scrapped following warnings

A firm’s plan to extract sand from the sea off the village of Kıyıköy in the northwestern province of Kırklareli has been scrapped, following a report by daily Hürriyet which warned that the mining would cause a “natural disaster.”

“Our company decided to withdraw the plan; we are not going ahead with it,” Rasim Yaşar, an official of the Kumport Port Services, told Hürriyet on Dec. 28.

“We are the second best container port in Turkey. That was an old license. This place was run by a sand business cooperative 30 years ago. We applied just because we had thought ‘there was already a license,’ but decided not to carry on,” he added.

Kıyıköy, which is on the Black Sea coast, hosts a variety of species, which locals say contributes to the province’s and village’s economy.

Hürriyet reported in September that the Kumport Port Services had applied for an environmental impact assessment clearance (EIA) to the Environment Ministry for the extraction of 300,000 tons of sand annually from Kıyıköy. The application had been accepted by the officials.

The project, which was planned to continue for five years, however, received widespread criticism from the public at the time.

The firm’s EIA report concerning the effects of the planned sand quarry on the fish’s spawning area and fishing was prepared by Aydın Akbulut, an academic from the Ankara-based Hacettepe University.

The EIA report had said that there was a wide range of fish species in the sand extraction area, which provides a livelihood for locals.

Aquatic species, including the gray mullet, turbot, and seahorse, are present in the area, the EIA report also had said.

“The sand extraction area is appropriate for fishing. Loss of habitat, after the operation, will have negative effects on fish species, spawning areas and fishing. All these will only show its impact on a biologically small area within Thrace and the Black Sea,” the professor had said in his report.

The extracted sand would be sold as construction material, the firm had said in its application.