Popular bay area destroyed by stone quarries in western Turkey

Popular bay area destroyed by stone quarries in western Turkey

EDİRNE – Doğan News Agency
Popular bay area destroyed by stone quarries in western Turkey

DHA photo

A green area near Saros Bay in the northwestern province of Edirne has been destroyed by currently operating stone quarries in the area, which have turned it into smoke-covered infertile land.

Taken by a paragliding pilot, pictures of the stark destruction of the area, which includes endemic plant species, by excavation activities in the popular bay area in Edirne’s Keşan district, revealed that the green area surrounding the İbrice Port in Keşan’s Mecidiye Köyü neighborhood had been ravaged and turned into barren land covered by grey smoke due to dust emitted by the stone quarries.

Saros Environment and Ecology Platform Commission Member Aytekin Eliüs said the grave damage to nature by the current stone quarries could be strikingly seen in the pictures, and they heard an additional stone quarry was planned to be opened in the area by the General Directorate of State Hydraulic Works (DSİ). 

“Huge destruction has taken place here over years. An additional stone quarry planned to be opened here will inevitably accelerate the environmental damage. Saros [Bay area] has endemic plant species that are in danger of extinction. They will also be destroyed,” Eliüs said.

“What the authorities told us is that stone excavation would be conducted for public interest. We do not disagree on that. But a stone quarry is already open. Stone excavation could be carried out in already anti-environmental quarries. There is no need for an additional stone quarry,” he added.

Eliüs said the Saros Bay area had been declared a major tourist region and destruction of such an area would have a negative impact on tourism there.

“People come here, from Istanbul in particular, to relax and spend time in a natural area,” Eliüs said, adding that tourists would be turned off by the environmental damage caused by by stone quarries.

Eliüs also said he and other environmentalists had heard that a number of the stone excavation activities were conducted unlawfully and they would look to solve this through legal means.

“We believe there should be no stone quarry here. For example, the earth dug during the stone excavation process should be poured at the digging site. However, no stone quarry complies with this. There is not even any other stone quarry in Turkey like this. We are considering with attorneys how to deal with this and call on the authorities to take necessary action,” he added. 

Republican People’s Party (CHP) Edirne deputy Erdin Bircan, along with representatives from several non-governmental organizations and environmental rights groups, staged a protest to oppose the opening of more stone quarries in the Saros Bay area. The area is said to be particularly unique as it is capable of self-cleaning.

Meanwhile, the Saros Environment and Ecology Platform Commission members held their first commission meeting on how to fight the environmental destruction of the Saros Bay area and how to communicate this to the public.